The Sally Fallon experience

I first learnt of Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions online. In a forum I was part of at the time and also on some blogs, this book kept coming up. Instinctively, from the snippets I was hearing, I thought it might be worth me having a look. But I'm not big on buying books these days. Mostly I lust unrequitedly after them or chase them at the library. But every year I allow myself a new non-fiction book. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Meat was a worthwhile purchase and much consulted book. Andrew Whitley's book Bread Matters is so utterly useful that one day I will buy it again because I will have worn our copy out. Eventually, I was so intrigued with the Fallon references I was encountering, that I bought the book. It was worth the money, but I have reservations as well as praise.

Miriam (thank you for your recent comment which prompted this post), I would highly and hugely recommend Bread Matters over Nourishing Traditions. Then, when you are ready to make sourdough bread which will make the gluten much more digestible, give Terrace Farms a ring and order yourself some superb flour, freshly milled after you place your order and quite affordable if you compare it with the price of organic flour in the supermarket. Whitley's Cromarty Cob recipe (replace the plain flour with wholemeal) is a winner even with my seven year old who has to contend with idiots at school criticising the contents of his lunchbox. I am also very fond of the caraway rye recipe. His hot cross buns are not sourdough but they did turn out divine. He has a chapter on gluten free bread, with recipes, which are based on actual food not expensive pre-mixes and very hard to find ingredients. Whitley has links to some fascinating research on additives and gluten intolerance.

Back to Fallon and Nourishing Traditions. I've paired it with other reading I've been doing finding the benefits of solid fats, the importance of fats for absorbing fat soluble vitamins, cultured foods and the superfood which broth is. Fallon has a chapter devoted to making stock and I am totally with her on the importance of stock. She talks about enzymes and cultured foods at length and is interesting as she does so. I have started to think of traditional foods not merely as foods from the 1940s (jam, beetroot bottled in vinegar, vinegar pickles) but of foods before any of the modern conveniences of fridges, glass jars, ovens etc.

She also has some very unconvincing stuff on the side bar of the book. Each page has recipes down 2/3rds of the page and snippets of information on the other third. Only there is a lot of circular quoting and some of her venom for vegetarians seems quite inconsistent with what I have learnt anywhere else. I don't expect someone with her claims of expertise to confuse vegan and vegetarian practices the way she appears to.

I recently found Nourishing Cook, a website aiming to cook every recipe in Nourishing Traditions. It includes one which I have cooked and liked, the meat loaf recipe, which I plan to do a variation on tomorrow night (my idea is to use up the leftover mushroom risotto from tonight instead of breadcrumbs). I wish I looked on this website before I made Fallon's banana bread. Mine came out like the photos on the link. Seriously inedible and an expensive waste of ingredients.

Top of my wish list for purchase this year? Healing with Wholefoods, by Paul Pitchford. I borrowed a copy last year and was riveted. Laksmi, our local complementary therapist who has helped our family improve our health hugely, recommended it to me.


nova_j said…
ha funny you mention the vege/vegan thing.. i saw her interviewed on a documentary once, and honestly some of the things she was spouting about vegetarian diets was the most ignorant, out-of-date, out-of-touch tripe that i have heard on the subject in a long time. i've found it pretty much impossible to take her seriously on anything else since, because surely a 'food expert' should actually base their views on reality somewhat??

so yeah, not a big believer here ;)

must check out the bread book though!!
Sharonnz said…
Bread Matters rulz - will be forever grateful to you for putting me onto this!

I have Kay Baxter's (of Koanga Gardens) Change of Heart which is Nourishing Traditions somewhat distilled into a kiwi context. Busting to make my own sauerkraut one day.
miriam said…
That's really helpful, thanks Sandra. You're right, I hardly ever buy books so I'll start by putting a request in at the Dn library for this one and go from there. They are good at getting things in. I'll definately follow up the bread book too because I make a fair bit in the breadmaker and the boys can eat that. I buy wheat in bulk and use a neighbours electric mill. Now, off for a browse on those links and see the infamous banana bread!
Thanks Sharon, happy to be of service :). Nova, a friend recommended I read Trick and Treat by Barry Groves. I haven't yet but I have looked at his website and I see he has some in common with the Weston A Price Foundation to which Sally Fallon is also linked. But my friend is a firm believer in science and peer reviewed academic papers and she likes that he backs everything with solid research. I'm looking forward to seeing his take on a number of things, including meat consumption. Just need to get the library to buy it...

Miriam how wonderful that you have access to an electric mill!

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