Back to Tradition


Everything old is new again.  I’m talking about the “Traditional Foods” movement- the following that books like “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon has generated.  Another book that isn’t part of the Traditional Foods movement, that I know of, but touches on some of the same points is “Why Some Like it Hot” by Gary Paul Nabhan.  His book is similar to the former only in that it seems to suggest that we should go back to eating the foods that are traditional to our culture.  Books like these make me feel good about eating what I like most- the foods that I was brought up on.  Turns out red meat isn’t all that bad for us after all- as long as its grass-fed.  (No more failed attempts at being a vegetarian for me!)  And dairy products are good for those of us who digest them well- people whose ancestors were cattle herders and so evolved into lactose -tolerant adults.  The point being, mainly from Nabhan’s book, is that when seeking out what is good for you, look to what your ancestors ate- and what is good for one group of people may not necessarily be the right choice for another.  A lot of people in America don’t really have a food tradition to go back to- maybe they have been eating fast food or boxed dinners all their lives, and have no memory of what their grandparents ate.  My situation may be a little out of the ordinary in that my parents were old enough to be my grandparents, were country people, and very old fashioned.  The kinds of foods they prepared as I was growing up may not have been the typical American fare; pinto beans flavored with a ham bone, simple soups made with homemade broth, simple cuts of meat, sometimes organ meats, wild poke, mustard, and dock greens, and other wild foods,  fresh from the garden vegetables, and a variety of home pickled vegetables they called “chow-chow”  (which, according to “Nourishing Traditions”, probably supplanted an earlier tradition of fermented vegetables).    For the most part, these are really simple meals- no need to over-think it.  It feels good to eat this way, though I don’t do it all the time.  And I know that this is just one part of what the traditional foods movement is about.  But its a place to start.  And I’m grateful to have inherited a food tradition.


2 responses »

  1. Oh, yeah! Bring on the pinto beans flavored with ham. My parents always tuck in a ham hock. Brown beans and corn bread is still my favorite home-cooked meal. 🙂

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