Friday, February 22, 2008

More With Less

My mother gave me a book that surprised me when I finally decided to open it, recently.
Here are some highlights:
This book, "More-With-Less" met my wishings for a practical application of my faith;
its contents connect across world cultures with a familiar respect that one would expect between neighbors;
This book is counter-culture without being negative.

What is it? It's a cookbook. Crazy as it might sound, this book was a relief for me to read. It eschews convenience packaging because it is unhealthy and destructive. It views all world citizens as part of one community, each member affected by the choices of the others. It delights in creativity of cooking and sharing new ways of making food. More with Less educates about healthy and conscious eating without the "don't do this" "feel guilty about this" attitude of many diets, and even of many health gurus. Instead, it enters into kitchens of Mennonite men and women with names like Lois, Tom, Josefa, and June finding warm, sometimes quirky customs surrounding meals. Poems, exerps from Mennonite letters,and Bible verses are sprinkled among the recipes in joyful testimony that they and their families are enjoying the process of learning how to eat without selfish excess.

The timing of this book is impeccable. Brian and I are realizing a few things. Our naive belief in food companies to put our best interest above their profit margins is dead. One careful study of a few packaged things in our cupboards led to multiple questions of, "why is that in there?" "How is that considered food?" More-With-Less has a short but informative history of the increase in processed foods over the last 30-40 years. They point out that insane amounts of sugar and sodium and fat and fancy packaging have food companies' profits soaring under the label of "progress".

The true progress that this book promotes is that we as consumers have choices. We as people of faith have choices. We can consume the way advertisers and packagers want us to, or we can make daily decisions that truly have an impact whether or not we see them, immediately. Here's a quote in answer the the question, "Does it really help anyone if I cut back?"
"In our complex world, it is hard to visualize how the struggles of a few families to save food will help...Yet deconsumption is an obvious first step. The very complexity that frustrates easy answers also means that our decisions in the global family are interrelated. 'Life is like a huge spider web so that if you touch it anywhere you set the whole thing trembling,' says Frederick Buccher." They go on to talk about the Miracle of Jesus who fed 5000 men from the lunch of one little boy. In the face of that large crowd the disciples were overwhelmed by what they had. Nevertheless, they were obedient to share what was available. "Their act of faith was to share and let God take responsibility for the rest."

From snacks, to dinners, to dessert, to shopping, this book is practical, usable, and refreshing. Here is one of my favorite, incredibly easy, yummy snacks (perfect for a hypoglycemic like myself)


Combine in a bowl:
1/2 cup honey or corn syrup (could get away with a lot less)
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky is awesome)
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup (I used more than that) uncooked oats
0R 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

mix well and then shape into small balls then roll them in coconut.
I keep them in the fridge so they don't get soft.

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