The Moosewood Cookbook. Does this sound familiar to you? If you’re like me, this cookbook is synonymous with decades of whole food inspiration. It is like the Holy Grail of cookbooks in the real food world. It has been around for a long time inspiring healthy, wholesome, from scratch meals with the recipes that abound within it’s cover. It is no wonder then that I was ecstatic when I heard that there was a new 40th Anniversary Edition of the Moosewood Cookbook just released and I was getting my very own copy to review and share with you all here!
Growing up, we ate fairly healthy meals. Many of the meals we ate were from scratch with few to no processed ingredients. But the majority of our meals are what you might call “meat and potatoes” type meals. To say my food experiences had been limited is an understatement. I don’t think I ever ate an avocado until I was 18, I’d never tasted curry and I didn’t have a clue what kale was. Garnish for your plate at a restaurant maybe? The Moosewood Cookbook helped change all that for me. It broadened my palate and way of eating.
When I finally made my way to college in my early 20’s, I was too broke to buy my own cookbooks but man did I miss that Moosewood Cookbook! Luckily I lived near the public library in downtown Missoula at the time and would check out the Moosewood Coookbook, often having to be put on a waiting list for my turn to check it out for two weeks. Once I finally had my hands on the thing, I’d spend a few hours pouring over the cookbook and copying down recipes I wanted to try. Sometimes I’d rediscover ones I’d made before but couldn’t remember how to make without the recipe.
So what is so great about the Moosewood Cookbook that makes it such a beloved cookbook for several decades? It is abundant with healthy, real food recipes that are nourishing and easy to make. The 40th Anniversary Edition Moosewood Cookbook actually comes in a durable hardcover book, unlike it’s early predecessor. I think that every early paperback copy I ever laid my eyes on was always tattered, dog eared and well loved from so much use. This hardcover 40th anniversary edition is durable and I’m sure will hold up to years of use and still be in decent shape to pass on to Little A someday!
Unlike the majority of cookbooks out there, the Moosewood Cookbook is handwritten. What, you ask? Handwritten?! Yes! Over 100 pages of handwritten recipes with hand drawn illustrations to highlight the recipes. When I say hand written, I should note that although it is handwritten instead of typed it is a lovely script that is easy to read (unlike my chicken scratch, which you all are quite lucky to not ever get to see since you probably couldn’t read a thing I write by hand!) Because the recipes are handwritten, the cookbook always seemed to me to be more authentic. It seemed like the author, Mollie Katzen, was a dear friend writing down her favorite recipes on a note card to give me for my recipe collection.
The introduction to the Moosewood Cookbook tells an inspiring tale of how this cookbook came into existence. It is actually a compilation of recipes that were prepared at the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York in the 1970’s. It was a restaurant run by a group of friends preparing favorite family recipes and recipes from their travels. Since the cookbook is a compilation of a variety of different people from different backgrounds, the result is this amazing diversity of ethnic recipes using fresh, whole food ingredients.
Although they weren’t necessarily intending on producing strictly vegetarian meals, the introduction to the cookbook states they found themselves preparing “….cuisines from other countries that placed far less emphasis on meat and more on creative preparation of garden and orchard sourced ingredients.” Although we are not a vegetarian family, this cookbook is comprised of vegetarian recipes and we still love it. I’ve appreciated this through the years as I’m always looking for new recipes to incorporate our homegrown produce into the meals we eat.
What started out in the early 1970’s as a handwritten, copied and spiral bound booklet morphed into the beloved Moosewood Cookbook many of us are familiar with today. The author Mollie Katzen writes in the introduction that for the 40th Anniversary edition she only made a few small edits to some of the recipes and added 25 more recipes than the original version had.
The Moosewood Cookbook is organized into six main sections:
- Sauces and Dips
- A Few Baked Things and Sandwiches
Each section starts with a helpful index of recipes that can be found in that section with corresponding page numbers. I always find this helpful when I’m scanning through to find a recipe for certain ingredients I have on hand.
One thing I will note about this cookbook is the use of soy products like tofu in some of the recipes. I’m sure back in the 1970’s soy wasn’t known to be as unhealthy as it is today. While I used to use soy products in meals a number of years ago, it is now widely known that soy isn’t the healthiest food choice for our bodies on top of the fact that it is primarily grown from genetically modified seeds (and don’t even get me started on why genetically modified seeds are bad!) If you’re not familiar with the negative aspects of soy, here’s a great article to read more about it.
The Moosewood Cookbook 40th Anniversary Edition is a timeless classic for every kitchen. I feel honored to now have my very own copy of this cookbook in my collection! If you want to own your very own copy, you can find one here.
Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing me with a free copy of this cookbook to share my honest review with you all.