I’ve loved Scott and Helen Nearing’s books for years so I was very excited to find a copy of Simple Food for the Good Life by Helen Nearing.Scott and Helen Nearing moved from New York City to a dilapidated farmhouse in Vermont in 1932 at the height of the Great Depression.
According to the book cover… Helen and Scott Nearing are America’s legendary homesteaders.Their way of life is recounted in more than thirty books, including Helen’s Loving and Leaving the Good Life, The Maple Sugar Book, and Wise Words for the Good Life.Helen Nearing died in 1995.The Nearing farmstead in Harborside, Maine (where they moved in 1952) has been preserved for posterity, and is now open to the public as The Good Life Center.
Helen and Scott Nearing were vegetarians so it goes without saying that these recipes contain no meat.The recipes do contain both eggs and dairy products.What I didn’t know was that Helen Nearing was also very interested in raw foods so many of these recipes involve no cooking.
The first six chapters of the book contain no recipes at all and are more an explanation of Helen’s philosophy on life in general and on cooking specifically.The book is dotted with quotations (some short and some long) from a variety of older cookbooks (1800s and early 1900s).
The recipes contained in the book are very simple, healthy recipes.You won’t find recipes calling for boxed ingredients or exotic spices.Recipes sections include breakfasts, soups, salads, vegetables, herbs, casseroles, baked goods, desserts, beverages and even a section on storing and preserving foods.
Many of her recipes are written with the assumption that you have your own canned or fresh garden produce.Instead of stating a sixteen ounce can of corn in her ingredients’ list, she will state two cups corn, fresh cut from the cob.The herbs that she cooks with are fresh and not dried.Her sweeteners include maple syrup and honey instead of white sugar.
If you’re looking for a cookbook that focuses on healthy, easy to cook meals, I highly recommend Simple Food for the Good Life. These recipes are easy enough for a novice cook to make and would also appeal to anyone who is looking for a way to use up garden produce, get a start on using raw foods or just learn more about the Nearing’s way of life.This book should also appeal to anyone interested in the homesteading and preparedness way of life.It's filled with tiny tidbits of knowledge that we all need