Simply in Season: Tenth Anniversary Edition to be released in May

Studio Session Simply In Season-8147News Release
May 20, 2015

Popular cookbook adds new photography and menu guide

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ontario—Amid increased consumer demand for local foods and growing concern about processed food products, Simply in Season: Tenth Anniversary Edition invites readers to celebrate the gifts of garden, farm, and market around their tables.

The new edition of Simply in Season cookbook contains colorful photographs of seasonal dishes and an expanded fruit and vegetable guide that outlines every step of care for produce once it is out of the garden, from storage to preparation. Accompanying these descriptions are some identifying characteristics, nutrition facts, and selection guidelines for each fruit or vegetable.

Written by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert, the cookbook will be released in late May and is part of the World Community Cookbook series published by Herald Press in cooperation with Mennonite Central Committee.

“Many excellent cookbooks have come along in support of the local food revolution, but there is still not a better one than this,” says Steven L. Hopp, coauthor of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle with his spouse, Barbara Kingsolver.

SIScover2015Originally published in 2005, the book has over 141,000 copies in print. Readers will still find the accessible recipes of the previous edition, along with stories that provide insight into the world of sustainability.

Menu suggestions frame each of the seasonally based chapters in this new edition, including a weeknight menu for quick preparation, a weekend menu for entertaining, and a vegetarian menu. In addition, qualifying recipes are now labelled as gluten-free or vegetarian for quicker identification.

While some parts of the cookbook have changed, the components of Simply in Season that first won a spot on kitchen shelves remain. The recipes are accompanied by anecdotes on such topics as sustainability and gardening practices. A recipe like Pork Apricot Skillet, for instance, includes information about how different farming conditions and diets affect animals. Another short piece looks at which fruits are easiest to grow at home.

The connection between food, people, and God is a central theme to Simply in Season. Studio Session Simply In Season-9809The cookbook is full of advice and suggestions. Graham Kerr, of The Galloping Gourmet, notes: “What you read here comes from a voice that is pastoral, not judgmental . . . expect to be lovingly challenged in your decision to eat what is fresh and in season.”

Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert coauthored the book, with help from submissions from all over North America. Lind is a nutritional consultant and dietician, and helped found a Christian retreat center called Mountain Retreat. She works as a market gardener in West Virginia. Hockman-Wert lives in Corvallis, Oregon, where she works as a journalist and is an avid farmers’ market shopper. Both authors show commitment to Simply in Season’s mission of sustainable, healthful food in their daily lives. The book was originally commissioned by Mennonite Central Committee, with the MCC portion of royalties helping nourish people around the world.

Catherine Walthers, author of Raising the Salad Bar and Greens, Glorious Greens, appreciates the book’s organization and style of recipes. She names it “an essential kitchen companion for all of us who love to get our food from our own backyard, local CSA, or farmers’ market—and always need new ideas. This is a book I will turn to over and over again. [Lind and Hockman-Wert have] put the recipes in the most organized, easy-to-use cookbook I’ve seen.”

Green Living Ottawa says of the book, “I’ve tried a few cookbooks that were advertised as ‘seasonal,’ but the only one to live up to its cover blurb has been Simply in Season.”

Studio Session Simply In Season-8016Simply in Season: Tenth Anniversary Edition hardcover/spiral edition is available for $24.99 USD from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or and at local bookstores.

High resolution photos available upon request.

For more information on press release:
Melodie Davis

Who are the Hutterites?

9780836199468News Release
May 13, 2015

New book reveals authentic look into Hutterite colony
Hutterite Diaries to be released by Herald Press in mid-May

HARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ontario—Since modern North Americans are often groomed toward individualism, an authentic window into a communal life is becoming rarer and more valuable to society.

In a new book, Hutterite Diaries: Wisdom from My Prairie Community, author Linda Maendel provides such a window. She describes the daily goings-on of her Hutterite colony, or bruderhof, revealing a life of sharing and Christian community. She makes what could be foreign and strange intimate and familiar through her storytelling.

Herald Press will release Hutterite Diaries in mid-May. The book is the newest addition to the Plainspoken series, a series dedicated to showing what authentic Anabaptist life looks like in a variety of contexts. Hutterite Diaries is a collection of memories and anecdotes with occasional notes on the history of Hutterites, all based on Maendel’s experiences in her own colony.

ch 7

Linda Maendel staffing a table at a fundraiser for a local hospice/palliative care organization.

Readers will find stories about Hutterite beliefs and daily life that not only explain who the Hutterites of Maendel’s colony are, but that allow readers to experience Christian community vicariously. She shares stories that bring readers closer to an authentic Hutterite experience, such as all the mothers of a colony going on an annual three-day trip together to get the children’s Christmas presents.

While Maendel’s stories teach and share about a Hutterite colony, they also provide lessons about all of humanity. She draws readers into a world of autumn harvests, Mother’s Day baking, and workshop fires. In each vignette, community life is essential. The most striking example of this in Maendel’s colony is how the members share possessions communally, as followers of Jesus did in Acts 2. Hutterites share possessions to break down the boundary between theology and social interactions, according to Maendel.

Maendel has been writing about her experiences for a long time, and only now has collected her pieces into a larger publication. In addition to writing, Maendel teaches at Elm River Colony, the Hutterite community of which she is a part, located near Winnipeg, Manitoba.

When asked about her commitment to writing, Maendel responded, “I’ve felt for a long time that it’s important for Hutterites to write their own stories, and not enough of us are doing it. It’s also my hope that my book will encourage other Hutterites to write and publish their work.” Maendel blogs at

While other writers have focused on Hutterite life in their writings, Maendel’s perspective from within the colony and knowledge of the differences between individual Hutterite communities affects the stories she tells. “It seems some writers make general statements about Hutterites, without realizing what may be true for one colony may not be true for many others,” Maendel says. She offers several examples of how communities might differ, like decisions concerning education and healthcare. “There are very few books available where the author is Hutterite,” she adds.


Author Linda Maendel

“I applaud Linda Maendel for giving us a unique firsthand account of her life on a Hutterite colony,” says Mary-Ann Kirby, author of I Am Hutterite. “It’s wonderful to see Hutterite writers emerge and take their place in the mainstream!”

Suzanne Woods Fisher, author of Amish Peace, notes that Hutterite Diaries is “a wonderful collection of true stories and insights, written by a thoughtful woman who loves the life she’s been given.”

Hutterite Diaries: Wisdom from My Prairie Community provides a useful glimpse into a Hutterite colony. It is available for $12.99 USD and $14.94 CAD from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894 or, and local bookstores.

—Ben Mast

High resolution photos available upon request.

How many people join the Amish as outsiders?


Herald Press has released a new book in its Plainspoken series by an Old Order Amish woman, Marlene C. Miller. It has a somewhat startling title, Called to Be Amish: My Journey from Head Majorette to the Old Order.

Marlene’s story goes the opposite route than that followed by many Amish—those who leave. She is one of fewer than one hundred outsiders who have joined the Old Order Amish—and stayed.

Since 1950, Marlene has had a unique life journey. She grew up in a non-Christian household with a somewhat troubled family and began dating Johnny Miller. Johnny was Amish but had not yet joined the church. Johnny and Marlene got married, had children, and lived a non-Amish life for several years.

Then everything changed. Standing at the kitchen sink, Marlene accepted Christ into her heart. Here’s what happened next, as told in her book Called to Be Amish: My Journey from Head Majorette to the Old Order:

I ran out of the trailer to the cheese factory to tell Johnny what had happened. Although my feet were pumping hard, I felt so light that it seemed like I was floating across the little bridge Johnny had made for us to cross the creek. I flew into the cheese house and searched around until I found Johnny in the warm cellar, where the big wheels of cheese were processing.


The words tumbled out of my mouth: “God has forgiven me.” “I’m going to heaven.” “I was standing at the kitchen sink and . . .” Johnny just stood there looking at me, stunned. He could hardly believe me.


Here I was bubbling over with happiness, peace, and joy, and it was unbelievable to him. Then I told him the words that would change our lives: “I think I want to be Amish.”


That was even more unbelievable to him. I was actually jumping up and down for joy I was so happy. I asked, “When can we go to your family home?”


Johnny was speechless. He just looked at me, trying to process what I was saying and doing. Finally he answered in his steady way, “Well, we’ll wait a couple of days and see if you still feel the same.”


We waited for those few days, and I knew I was different and Johnny knew it too. First, we noticed I wasn’t swearing anymore. My jealousy and anger had disappeared, too.


What a miracle a prayer can bring! My whole life was changed in an instant. Johnny never asked me to be Amish, but the conviction came to me with my conversion to Christ.


I’m not saying that when a person is converted to Christ he or she has to become Amish. Not at all. But for me, it was the natural choice. It gave me peace and contentment to adopt this lifestyle and to love my husband enough to make him happy, which made me happy in the Lord.


Over the years, as I have read the Bible and learned from others, I have grown in my Christian faith. As we know, we are supposed to grow in the faith. That is exactly what the Lord has done for Johnny and me all through these years.


Out of all the people we knew in our little community there, we told only two people we were going to turn Amish in the future. We didn’t want everyone to know, because we thought they would not understand why we didn’t just do it right away. But I knew, and Johnny did too, that this was going to be a life-changing move for us. I felt I had to learn to sew better and understand more of the Amish ways.

It’s easy to turn from Amish to English, as far as how to live. One thing that’s easy is that you can buy all your clothes instead of making them. It’s easier to jump into a vehicle and drive than to learn to harness a horse and get it into a buggy.

But to go from English to Amish? Now that’s a different story. . . .


Marlene C. Miller is pictured here as a senior in high school, not long before she became Amish.


Here are photos of her as a cheerleader and band majorette.

Find out how Marlene fared as she adjusted to Amish life in her new book, Called to Be Amish: My Journey from Head Majorette to the Old Order. She shares about her struggles, joys, and how she came close to walking away from it all.

Turning Amish proved to be anything but plain and simple. Nearly fifty years later, Marlene is still living out God’s call for her as an Old Order Amish woman.


Called to Be Amish is on a Mother’s Day discount for only $9.74 until May 9, 2015.

Do you know someone with a similar story? Questions or comments?

Read the complete news story about the book, here.

For more information on differences between Amish and Mennonite, check the Third Way website.