Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Full Moon Feast, Jessica Prentice

It was a very interesting book.  It was very 'new agey'.  But also very thought-provoking.  She has done a lot of alternative/Chinese medicine history study and came to some interesting conclusions.

It was one of the first books that I heard about after reading Nourishing Traditions and I really wanted to read it. It was probably a good thing that I waited, as I would have been really annoyed with it all.  But I've come to see things differently and come to realize that there are things to learn from just about anyone who has studied and read and applied just about anything.  Even if we think very differently, they would have thought of things that I never had.  




Jessica is one of the founders of 'Three Stones Hearth', a community supported kitchen in San Francisco, CA. I'd love to do their apprentice program sometime and learn new cooking skills and refine the ones I do have.  

The book is broken into 13 'moons' which she described and also gave various names and cultural symbols and traditions to go along with them.  Each 'moon' she discusses a topic that is relevant and at the end gives appropriate recipes for foods that are related to that topic and that are seasonal to that 'moon'.

She had a lot of soup recipes, stock, veggies, desserts, lacto-fermented fruit, veggies and drinks. She even has some neat looking herbal drinks that I'd love to try.  Some of the recipes are here.

I really enjoyed the 'epilogue' where she pulled it all together rather nicely.
"One of the things I find most fascinating about studying life in indigenous villages is that many of the so-called alternative values I cherish-frugality, stewardship, maintenance of cultural traditions, community life, and a deep ecological awareness, to name a few-are cultural norms rather than countercultural alternatives."  Isn't that a great thought?

"This frustration (of being different) may become compounded once you start following the principles of traditional nutrition.  Rather than merely free-range beef, you want grass-fed and grass-finished. It is not enough to eat sauerkraut made from organic cabbage, you want it lacto-fermented, preferably slowly in a ceramic crock. You don't just want bread from organically grown wheat, you want to make sure it was sprouted or naturally leavened.  It is no longer enough to have organic, nonhomogenized milk, you want it 100% raw from cows that ate biodiverse pasture. You're concerned about chickens' beaks being intact but also want to make sure they got to eat lots of bugs and grasses and feed without too much soy in it. Again, life can start to feel very complicated.  The healthy indigenous peoples that Weston Price studied didn't have to struggle with these things on an individual level...   What they ate was their everyday food; it was what everyone they knew, or visited, or invited over, also ate. Their nutritional needs were met by their culture as part of their survival strategy.

We face a different set of challenges. When you make a decision to eat nutrient-dense food and traditional fats, you place yourself outside the mainstream of our culture. The same is true when you decide to be an ecological steward.  Your family, friends, etc. might think you are a bit of a weirdo.  I think there is always a delicate balance between adhering to your convictions and participating in community. Because I believe community is so important in our lives, I often decide to set aside my nutritional or ecological preferences in order to share meals and other activities with people whom I value being in relationship with."

I think that is a nice attitude toward food and life. 

On a personal note, I am constantly amazed at how people of all races seem to have a sense of 'God' and order.  I don't nearly understand God's ways or thoughts, but it's been fun to see how He really did put a void in each human being and that is often expressed as a longing for a adherence to a religion of some sort.  And that goes way back to Creation.  God is go good and the more I read and learn and see the 'big picture' the more amazed I am at his orderliness and holiness. 

I'm glad I was finally able to read Full Moon Feast.  And I enjoyed seeing someone else's perspectives on nourishing our bodies and souls. 

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