The Natural Foods Cookbook by Beatrice Trum Hunter -1961 Edition Second Printing
...there is a movement for food that is honest, natural, and healthful... Beatrice Trum Hunter, 1961
Published in 1961, The Natural Foods Cookbook was a groundbreaking look at recipes that only consisted of whole, unrefined ingredients in an era when convenience, prepackaged and frozen foods were frequent supplies in the kitchen. Ahead of the local farm-to-table, organic food movement by a decade, Beatrice Trum Hunter (1918-2017) espoused diets heavy in fruit and vegetables and rich in whole grains, minimally processed flours, natural sweeteners and nutritional yeast. She was opposed to preservatives of any kind as well as synthetic additives that were marketed as modern marvels in the commercial food industry of the 1960s.
Beatrice wasn't without her critics when her book debuted. Surprisingly, many midcentury nutritionists belittled Beatrice's opposition to refined sugars, pesticides, preservatives and food additives, calling her fussy and and cranky, but Beatrice pressed on anyway. Her cookbook, the first of its kind in the natural food movement eventually attracted a loyal following and became a beloved kitchen classic by the time the 1970s rolled around.
Concerned with the perception that natural food equals boring dining experiences and tasteless food, Beatrice filled her cookbook with all sorts of interesting recipes and flavor pairings that featured herbs, spices and honey in place of table salt and refined sugar. She also included an extensive chapter on organ meats, which she valued for their high nutritional content especially when prepared in the traditional ways of different cultures around the globe. That was another feature taht made Beatrice's cookbook unique. tOrgan meat recipes were a bit of a taboo subject that most cookbooks were not focusing on at the time.
Nowadays, Beatrice's recipes do not seem out of the ordinary and the variety of dishes she presents from breakfast through after-dinner dessert is quite extensive. Health-conscious home cooks today will appreciate Beatrice's use of seaweed, carob, vegetable gelatins, freshly milled flours, sprouts, homemade yogurts, kefir, nutritional yeasts, and non-hydrogenated oils. Animal proteins, apart from the organ meats chapter and a few dishes calling for bacon, are mainly limited to fish recipes. The rest consist of plant-based proteins found in beans, grains and vegetables.
Interesting recipes include Cold Vegetable Casserole, Stuffed Baked Squash, Raisin Coconut Fruit Spread, Spiced Soy Milk, Wholewheat Berry Chowder, East Indian Coconut Soup, Bean Lentil Croquettes, Rice-Pumpkin Casserole, Mix-Your-Own Cereal Blend, No-Knead Oatmeal Wheat Bread, Soy Gluten Popovers, Bohemian Puffs, Raised Buckwheat Pancakes, Lemon Ice Cream, Pumpkin Cake, Wholewheat Sponge Cake, Sunflower Macaroons, Lemon-Honey Jelly, Raw Indian Chutney, and Homemade Cider Vinegar
For the adventurous cook, the organ meat chapter features various exotic recipes including Baked Liver with Currents, Risotto with Chicken Livers, French Kidney Casserole, Italian Stewed Tripe, Brains au Gratin, Braised Stuffed Heart, Russian Pot Roast of Lungs and Beef Tongue Casserole.
Throughout her career, Beatrice authored over 38 cookbooks and wrote countless newspaper articles on natural foods and pesticide-free gardening. Trained as a special needs teacher initially, she also ran a small guest house on her farm property in rural New Hampshire where she provided homemade meals for visitors utilizing many of the recipes in this book.
Photo of Beatrice by Robert Granoff courtesy of The Concord Monitor, May 2017
- 1961 Edition, 2nd Printing
- 296 pages
In good vintage condition, this cookbook contains a few cooking spots and stains, mostly in the dessert/baking sections, as well as a few spots on the front overboard. none of these stains affect the readability of the recipes and are light in color. Once part of the Physical Library Culture Service in Branford CT, there is a library sticker on the title page. The binding is slightly exposed on the title page, but all pages are still very secure in the book. Other than that, all pages are clean, bright, and unmarked. Please see photos.
Measures 8.75" inches (length) x 5.75" inches (width) x 1.25" inches (thickness) and weighs just over 1 lb.