Back to Butter by Molly Chester
It's Better with Butter
What if ingredients we deem "toxic" – like butter, cream and eggs – could, in fact, restore our health and that of future generations? Molly Chester, a Moorpark-based traditional food chef and farmer, and her mother, "real foods advocate" Sandy Schrecengost, believe they can.
In Back to Butter: A Traditional Foods Cookbook (Fair Winds Press, 2014), the duo walk readers through the benefits and techniques of a traditional foods diet, and use the recipes as delicious and nourishing examples. (A traditional foods diet emphasizes natural, organic and unrefined ingredients and avoiding processed foods.)
Chester, who adopted a traditional foods diet in response to severe health issues, credits her healing to incorporating the diet's principles.
Recognizing the lack of farmers raising grass-fed animals and wanting to be more connected to their food, Chester and her husband, John, abandoned their careers and purchased Apricot Lane Farms, a 160-acre property in Moorpark where they farm organically and biodynamically.
Drawing from experiences on the farm and their journey with a traditional foods diet, Chester and Schrecengost's cookbook provides intriguing recipes and homemade takes on basic pantry items, all while illuminating the benefits of foods our great-grandparents likely ate.
Particularly helpful for people struggling with the overload of information, part one gives recommendations of meat, dairy, grains and legumes, fats and oils and natural sweeteners and includes the rationale behind their choices. The authors demystify terms such as grass-fed, pastured, organic, local and free range, which can leave shoppers paralyzed in front of the cartons of eggs.
Part two departs from the basics and guides readers through recipes ranging from "First Bites" all the way to desserts and even includes recipes for homemade drinks, making this cookbook a perfect resource for a dinner party.
"You will get no apology that many of these recipes take time," the authors warn at the beginning of the book. While the Homemade Beef Stock and Hearty Beef Soup with Brussels Sprouts fully support this declaration, the first bite validated the time spent chopping veggies. These were some of the most flavorful and wholesome recipes I have tasted.
Sprinkled throughout the book are gorgeous photographs of Apricot Lane Farms and friendly anecdotes for each recipe, delighting readers as they explore traditional foods.
– Book review by Naomi Henry
Back to Butter: A Traditional Foods Cookbook – Nourishing Recipes Inspired by Our Ancestors
by Molly Chester & Sandy Schrecengost (Fair Winds Press, 2014)