Monday, October 15, 2007

Desert Island Cookbook

Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt
Restaurant Reviewer, NY Daily News
Brooklyn, NY
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig

WHY DO YOU LIKE IT? More than just a cookbook, Nourishing Traditions is a philosophy of food. The 700 or so recipes contained within are based on fundamental human dietary principles that are universally consistent throughout history all over the world since the beginning of time.

Gleaning from diets ranging from the Masai to the Maori, Laura Ingalls Wilder to the Lakota, Incas to Indonesians, Nourishing Traditions challenges modern and new-fangled (what author Sally Fallon refers to as “politically correct…nutritionally incorrect”) ideas about food in favor of traditional and ancient methods of preparing and preserving.

Fallon is profoundly influenced by the writings of Weston A. Price, a renowned Alfred Kinsey-esque figure in early twentieth century American Dentistry who published a series of ethnographic nutrition studies across a vast and diverse spectrum of indigenous cultures. He found that those who stuck to “traditional” diets, relying on fermented grains, raw milk, organ meats and animal fats maintained almost perfect teeth, bone structures, and physiques while often reaching the century mark free of disease. Those that switched over to “Western” diets based on bleached grains, pasteurized milk, processed foods and an emphasis on low fat became, within a generation, in Price’s words “punier”, “sickly”, “weak” , “malformed”, and devastated by a host of diseases and ailments that their ancestors had never experienced.

For added kicks, each page also features sidebars presenting recipe-related culinary literary excerpts.

Here’s a pair of go-to recipes (using ingredients found on any self-respecting desert island) I’ll share with three of the mermaids that can often be found basking on my desert island.
-- Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt

(recipes adapted from Nourishing Traditions)
1 pound whitefish, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon whey
¾ cup coconut milk
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
Boston lettuce leaves
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Mix salt with lime juice and whey. Toss with fish and marinate at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. Drain the fish. Add coconut milk, scallions and optional tomato and garlic. Serve on Boston lettuce leaves and garnish with sesame seeds.

Note: I usually use 3 or 4 cloves of garlic and skip the lettuce and tomato. Serves 4.

4 very ripe large plantain bananas
or 8 small red bananas
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or lard
¼ cup of honey
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
Piima cream or crème fraiche for garnish

Peel bananas and cut lengthwise. Saute in batches in olive oil or lard, transferring with a slotted spoon to an oblong Pyrex dish. Make a mixture of orange juice, honey and cinnamon. Pour over bananas and bake at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes. Serve in bowls with a dollop of cultured cream. Serves 4.


Little Nutbrown Hare said...

I just got this book too recently and am excited to try out the soaked grains baking recipe. Never thought of it as desert island cooking though, that's quite funny.

Jason Hernandez-Rosenblatt said...

Just wait until you start soaking your nuts...

SDC said...

Hi Rebecca, this is Steve C. I'm on the trail of one of the books I mentioned to you: Stieff, Eat, Drink and be Merry in Maryland.

But in this most recent posting of yours, you refer to someone as (approximately) the "Kinsey" of dentistry... I would hate to think what that might mean.

See you at work. SDC

sixty-five said...

And where would we find whey?? I often drain yogurt to make it thicker, and have referred to the thin, leftover liquid as "whey". Is that what one might use here?

Rebecca Federman said...


There are some very informative websites describing whey and how to make it:

This is how a friend of mine make whey:

Heat whole milk to almost a boil, take off heat and add a 1/4c. of lemon juice per 1/2 gallon of milk. Cover and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Strain through a cheese cloth, and what drips out through the cloth is whey and the rest is curd. You can wrap the curd in cheese cloth and weigh it down for an hour or so and you've made Paneer.

If you have any other questions feel free to email me.

Judson Kniffen said...

Yes, 65, that liquid that separates from yogurt is whey (as opposed to curd). Nourishing Traditions uses whey in a lot of recipies, but if you don't have it you could also use vinegar or lemon juice - something acidic.