A Thumbs Up Book Review
Full Moon Feast: Food & the Hunger for Connection
By Jessica Prentice
Chelsea Green Publishing
Review by Sally Fallon
Part autobiography, part recipe book and part philosophical treatise on traditional customs and food ways, Full Moon Feast is an informative adventure through a year of full moons–from the Hunger Moon in late winter, to the Wolf Moon at the end of the year.
Each moon provides a platform for Prentice to expand on the subject of food, society and health. In the chapter on the Sap or Sugar Moon, which occurs when the sap begins to rise in the trees, Prentice discusses real whole sweeteners from maple, sorghum and palm, versus white sugar, a sugar that is addictive and leads to a kind of slavery of poor health. Discussion of sugar leads to a natural segue into the work of Weston Price.
Many interesting facts emerge throughout the text. For example, as the outrage over slavery grew among northern settlers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, maple sugar came to be seen as a socially responsible alternative to the refined cane sugar being imported from the Caribbean. Prentice quotes from a 1903 farmer’s almanac: “Prepare for making maple sugar, which is more pleasant and patriotic than that ground by the hand of slavery and boiled down by the heat of misery.”
In the chapter on the Milk Moon, we get more on Weston Price via a discussion of raw versus pasteurized milk, followed by wise musings on the sacred feminine as embodied in the dairy cow.
The Wort Moon introduces us to wort cunning–knowledge of worts (that is, herbs) and treats us to delicious lacto-fermented beverages based on summer herbs like verbena, sassafras, yarrow and rose hips.
In the Corn Moon, Prentice explores the subject of grains and bread and looks at the harsh legacy of GMO seeds on local communities and sustainable farms. And in the Blood Moon, she treats us to a profound discussion on the subject of meat eating and vegetarianism.
Full Moon Feast provides a wonderful way to introduce the concepts of traditional diets in a non-preachy way, and in a wider context than simply that of health and fitness. Prentice understands that the way we eat, the way we farm and treat our animals, the way we cook, serve as metaphors for our life and culture.
The icing is a collection of wonderful recipes, from maple roasted nuts to pot roast to after dinner mints.
Full Moon Feast is a classic. Don’t miss it!
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2005/Spring 2006.