The Natural Foods Cookbook

The first book of natural foods recipes.

First published in 1961, The Natural Foods Cookbook scorned sugar while promoting whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

Simon and Schuster

The author wishes to thank the following for recipes and suggestions: Dori Billing, June Burn, Mrs. Thomas Cooper, Mrs. Frank Crumback, Ethel De Loach, Mrs. Frank Finnegan, Doris Grant, Mrs. Peter Gregg, Mrs. Austin Griflin, Helen Hadley, Mrs. Roderick Hall, Rosemary Harris, Marian Hatch, Mildred Hatch, Dr. D. C. Jarvis, Isobel Karl, Mrs. Joshua Loring, Jr., Etta Lublintz, Helen Marer, Celia Massie, Mrs. Alfred Mausolff, Jean Mitchell, Niles Newton, Vivian Perkins, Betty Pettit, Helen Philbrick, Jane Preston, Ruth Robinson, Mrs. R. Ronning, Mrs. Anthony Roothbert, Maija Salo, Verne Thomas, Francesca Van der Kley, and Adele Wehmeyer.

Beatrice Trum Hunter


Over thirty years ago The New Yorker magazine published a cartoon by Carl Rose showing a small boy scowling at his mother over a plate of food. The caption read: “I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it.” The American language was thereby enriched with another trenchant idiom for calling a spade a spade.

It also became a handy slogan for all those people who subscribe to the notion that healthful food is necessarily dull and unpalatable. Needless to say, I am not one of them. I believe that if cooking is approached as a creative art as well as a science, healthful food can be prepared in a variety of attractive, tasteful forms and still retain its nutritional values.

Today many thoughtful people are turning back the pages of modern food-processing history, seeking out the good old flavors, textures and nutrients of the natural foods their grandparents enjoyed. This is no longer just a passing whim of a small minority, but an earnest search by doctors, dentists, nutritionists and health-minded people everywhere. Many physicians are convinced that improper eating habits and devitalized foods are among the most serious contributing factors to the soaring incidence of cancer, heart disease and other degenerative conditions. Modern processing methods remove or destroy the vital nutrients of many foods. Artificial colors, chemical preservatives and a host of other additives further alter their natural qualities.

From the consumer’s viewpoint, most of these additives are unnecessary. They have no nutritive value. They are used by the food industry for economic advantage in a highly competitive market.

Foods treated in this manner may appear brighter and may last longer, but the people who eat them don’t.

The recipes in this book stress the use of whole, natural foods. They call for whole grains rather than refined flours and cereals; honey and other natural sweetening agents rather than refined sugar; herbs rather than salt and spices; vegetable oils rather than animal fats. Vitamin-rich yeast and sour dough replace vitamin-destroying leavening agents such as baking powder and baking soda. Seeds, sprouts, wheat germ, yoghurt, dulse, soybean products and nutritional yeast (non leavening or “primary” yeast) are also used. Some of the recipes are original; others are adaptations of traditional ones. All are as simple to prepare as ordinary recipes. Certain foods which are cursorily covered in the average cookbook are given extensive attention here: for instance, a wide variety of recipes is included in Chapter 9, Organ Meats. By the same token, other foods are given limited treatment because they are covered sufficiently in other books.

The proof of the pudding is, of course, in the eating. For those who have never savored the goodness of whole foods, there is a pleasant discovery in store. Whole foods, well prepared, can delight even the most jaded palate. As one of my sceptical gourmet friends said, after sampling some of these dishes, “They are definitely not hair shirt.” Coming from him, it was a high compliment.

The Natural Foods Cookbook will, I believe, open up new horizons for both novice and experienced cook.

– Beatrice Trum Hunter