Two and a half years ago Mary Ann Pickard's husband Bill—a 30-year-old orthodontist—was 50 pounds overweight, sedentary, and tense. He also suffered from week-long headaches, acute chest pains, and high blood pressure.
And it's no wonder that Dr. Pickard's body resorted to such symptoms to "scream for help," because the dentist (who should have known better) was in the habit of keeping a "snackin' box" of sugar cubes in his desk ... and would eat an entire can of cake frosting at one sitting!
One day, however, Bill decided to face up to his problem and solve it. To his wife's delight, he joined a Weight Watchers group and slowly shed 30 pounds ... but that was just the beginning. The now diet-conscious dentist decided to eat healthy food only. He completely eliminated refined sugar and refined flour from his life, and—in just three short weeks—lost another 20 pounds!
And as far as Mary Ann was concerned, the fine figure her "new" husband displayed was nothing compared to the other changes (physical, emotional, and mental) she saw in him.
"Soon, Bill could handle stress without overreacting ... his blood pressure was significantly decreased ... his self-image was markedly improved ... and, in short, he felt great!" she recalls. "I was so impressed that I decided, then and there, that what was so good for him had to be good for me—and for our two small children—also."
Fillin' a Need
Most of MOTHER EARTH NEWS' readers are well aware of the destructive effects refined sugar and flour can have on the human body. The overly processed "foods" have been said to contribute to an almost endless variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms—such as insomnia, arthritis, visual problems, premature aging, loss of sexual drive, and even cancer—not to mention the extra, unattractive pounds that those "empty calories" force our bodies to carry around. An understanding of the dangers of such products, however, doesn't make giving them up any easier.
It's also difficult, Mary Ann discovered, to come up—day after day—with tasty, nutritious, and attractive menus (particularly for those all-important breakfasts). However, she's managed—with the help of her family and friends—to do just that!
"You see," Mary Ann goes on to explain, "each of my recipes had to meet three criteria: First, the dish had to be delicious.. . because If food doesn't taste good, people won't eat it no matter how
healthful it is. Second, with so many 'cooks' now holding full-time jobs—and with all of us spoiled by prepackaged, timesaving convenience foods—the recipe had to be easy to prepare. And finally, most of the ingredients for each dish had to be available In a regular supermarket ... because, let's face it, that's where the majority of Americans find it necessary to do the greater part of their shopping."
Spreadin' the News
Mary Ann's method of marketing her recipes was every bit as remarkable as the collection Itself.
Her first step, of course, was to get her volume into print, which meant that the Pickards had to publish the cookbook at their own expense. They finally chose Cookbook Publishers, Inc. in Lenexa, Kansas to do the job ... and put up enough money for an optimistic first printing of 10,000 copies.
With that done, Mary Ann sent the cookbook to all the radio and television stations in cities within a reasonable driving distance ("and
in areas where I had friends or relatives I could stay with") of her home in Harrison, Arkansas. Each volume was accompanied by a letter requesting an interview.
Amazingly enough, not a single station turned her down! So—despite being well into her third pregnancy—the young woman packed up her children (her mother sometimes came along as a companion and babysitter) and spent a great part of the summer of 1979 on her self-promoted "book tour".
Mary Ann's hard work and initiative were rewarded, too! The cookbook came out last June 22 ... and, by September, all 10,000 copies were sold.
The publicity she created single handed also brought offers for publication rights, but—while possible deals were still being negotiated—the Pickards, in order to supply the continuing demand, bought a second
printing of 5,000 copies ... this time with each copy Including an Introduction by the noted pediatrician and author, Dr. Landon Smith.
Mother Earth News Is Impressed!
During her tour, Mrs. Pickard visited MOTHER EARTH NEWS' offices ... and we whisked her Into our test kitchen where she whipped up one of her favorite recipes: the "Salmon Fruit Salad."
To make six servings of the nutritious treat, combine I cup of boned, cooked' salmon, 1/3 cup of Mary Ann's homemade mayonnaise (see the recipe below), and 3 tablespoons of thawed apple juice concentrate. Stir the mixture well, then cover and chill it. Meanwhile— in another bowl —mix 2 cups of diced unpeeled apples, 1/2 cup of broken walnuts, 1/2 cup of raisins, and 1/2 cup of chopped celery. Add these Ingredients to the salmon ... pour 1/4 cup of apple juice concentrate over the salad ... stir It well ... and chill it again before serving.
(To make the special mayonnaise, simply place 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard, 1/4 teaspoon of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne, and I tablespoon of honey in a blender and process the mixture until it's smooth. Then—with the blender on its lowest speed—slowly add 112 cup of safflower oil, then I tablespoon of lemon juice, and finally another 1/2 cup of oil. Continue to mix, scraping the sides of the blender occasionally, until the oil has been distributed throughout and the mayonnaise has a creamy texture.)
One taste of this tangy salad feast should convince even the most skeptical snacker that "health food" can be as delicious as it Is nutritious!