Authors Priscilla Timberlake and husband Lewis Freedman RD share their story of hosting community macrobiotic dinners since 1995 in one of the most endearing cookbooks you will ever read- THE GREAT LIFE COOKBOOK.

More than a collection of recipes, the book serves up a monthly feast with 12 full dinner menus, each bursting with color as they balance the seasonal tastes of the five elements of macrobiotic cooking – fire, earth, wood, water and metal.

Every menu is created with a communal eating or a large family dinner in mind. So the dishes are well balanced, include starters, soups, pear crispentrees and desserts, and lots of helpful tips for cooking on a grand scale.

“Our dinners have evolved to be as inclusive as possible, meaning they will be agreeable to most people. All meals in the book are plant-based, dairy-free, vegan, macrobiotic and gluten free with oil-free options.”

Priscilla and Lewis got the idea of weekly communal eating after her mom visited Myanmar and was invited by two Burmese sisters to a regular communal dinner they served at their home. “The atmosphere was full of family, the food was vegetarian and it was delicious!” . They started their own Friday night ritual in 1995 and insist cooking for friends is not as “scary as you might think!”

Priscilla said: “When cooking for a crowd all you need is intention, ingredients, a few large pots and pans and a cooking space you feel good spending time in.

“The common practice of gathering together for meals can have a transformational effect on a person.

“There is something that happens energetically when people come together with the intention of promoting health and happiness.”

As a nutritionist who also instructs in the online Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition program by eCornell and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation, Lewis Freedman is directly involved in the growing global movement towards a whole food plant-based diet. There is plenty of documented evidence about a low-fat, whole food, plant-based and no added-oil diet.

He says in addition you also need to eat with your friends: “Having a social network – a loving embrace from your community – is fundamental to good health.

“Joining together with family and friends to share a health-supporting meal is indeed vital to living the Great Life.” – HEATHER FLETCHER

RECIPES

Stuffed rainbow squash

Millet Mash

Pear Crisp