Herald Press to launch 40th anniversary edition of More-with-Less cookbook

News release
September 15, 2016

Herald Press to launch 40th anniversary edition of More-with-Less cookbook
Author Rachel Marie Stone updated content and recipes

more-with-less40th_cover_smHARRISONBURG, Va., and KITCHENER, Ont.—How do you update the holy grail of thrifty and thoughtful cooking? Doris Janzen Longacre’s More-with-Less cookbook, compiled from hundreds of recipes submitted by Mennonite cooks around the world, has almost a million copies in print. But it is four decades old.

Leanne Brown, author of a cookbook titled Good and Cheap, was asked to write a foreword for the 2016 edition of More-with-Less. She suddenly realized the request brought to mind a sacred space in her own mother’s kitchen.

“This was the book my mother kept on the kitchen shelf,” Brown writes in the foreword to More-with-Less. “The kitchen shelf was sacred. Small and rickety as that shelf was, only that which was always in use deserved that hallowed spot. Seriously, you want me to write the new foreword for my mom’s kitchen shelf book? Sign. Me. Up.”


Rachel Marie Stone. Photo credit: Lisa Beth Anderson/Spark + Tumble (www.lbanderson.com)

Food writer Rachel Marie Stone, author of Eat with Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food, was contracted to update and edit the 2016 edition of More-with-Less. The first edition launched before she was even born. Those of Brown’s and Stone’s generations think of More-with-Less as much more than a cookbook; they see it as a movement that now includes such terms as “slow food,” “locally sourced,” “hundred-mile diet,” “meatless Mondays,” and more.

The beginnings for the original cookbook were humble. Two families—including that of Doris and Paul Longacre—gathered around a picnic table and discussed global hunger and the world food crisis of 1974. The nonprofit Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) had asked constituents to examine their own food habits, and challenged people to “eat and spend 10 percent less—both as an act of voluntary simplicity in solidarity with people who were poor, and as a practical move toward actually consuming less of the world’s limited resource” writes Longacre in the book’s original preface.

Stones’s research for the new edition included a visit to Mennonite Central Committee U.S. headquarters in Akron, Pennsylvania, where she devoured Longacre’s original notes in a file on possible names for the book, along with an afterthought scribbling of the phrase “More-with-Less.”


Herald Press file photo

Stone also writes of Longacre’s death from cancer just three years after More-with-Less
was first published, when she was 39. “She could not have known that eating locally and seasonally would become a mark of hipness, and that many people would begin to spend more time watching cooking shows than actually cooking,” reflects Stone. The book champions “simple food, well prepared from whole, fresh ingredients, eaten with gratitude,” she writes.

New features include a new size, lay-flat binding, some new recipes containing fresh and healthy ingredients, updated nutritional information, and expanded cooking techniques. The recipes also include labels indicating vegetarian or gluten-free. Stone worked with an advisory group that included a dietitian, representatives from MCC and Ten Thousand Villages, and other cookbook users. Fans of More-with-Less helped choose which recipes to include through an online survey conducted in spring 2015.

Filled with colorful pictures of people and food from around the world, as well as recipe photos, the new volume still includes much of Longacre’s writings, including chapters on the idea of having less with more, making changes as an act of faith, tips on building a simpler diet, and eating with joy.

Theologian Malinda Berry, who also grew up eating many dishes from More-with-Less, says that “Longacre’s voice resonates with prophetic witness and pastoral concern for her neighbors both in North America and around the world.”

Longacre was also the author of Living More with Less, which her husband Paul completed during and after Longacre’s 31-month battle with cancer.


More-with-Less and the entire World Community Cookbook series is commissioned by Mennonite Central Committee, a worldwide relief, development and peacebuilding ministry of Anabaptist churches. All royalties benefit the work of MCC.

The new edition launches September 27, is 319 pages long (with indexes and notes), and is $22.99 USD. It is available from www.mennomedia.org or 1‑800‑245‑7894, as well as Amazon and other online and local bookstores.

MennoMedia Staff
High resolution photo available.

For more information on news release
Melodie Davis
News manager


Lifechanger: How would you like to live better in 2014?

The folks at Simple Living Works recently did an interview with Valerie Weaver-Zercher, compiler and editor of the updated 30th anniversary edition of Living More with Less (released in 2010).

ValeriePaulPaulEditor Valerie Weaver-Zercher, left, with Paul Longacre, spouse of writer, Doris Janzen Longacre, right, and original book editor from 30 years ago,
Paul Schrock (now deceased, back).

Gerald and Rita Iversen, who began SimpleLivingWorks.org, say Living More with Less changed their lives. Gerald calls Living More with Less the “seminal book for modern faith-based voluntary simplicity.” Simple Living Works is now the homebase and publisher of the Alternatives resources for Christmas, Advent, Lent and Easter that have helped so many of us really ponder the meaning of, and frequently change, our holiday customs and traditions.

I feel like I know Gerald a little from his frequent postings in the Living More with Less Facebook group where diehards share their latest finds, comment and compare the experiences of others, and in general keep pumped for doing what sometimes takes more work. (Okay, often takes a lot more work. Like recycling. It is amazing how many people and communities still don’t do this basic task.) Gerald works professionally for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as a ministry associate.

Gerald puts together a twice-monthly podcast of interviews with people working at voluntary simplicity, so he interviewed Valerie about the book and her ideas. Gerald has spoken to over 300 groups in 40 states, continuing the mission that Doris herself could not continue when she died so young at age 39 of cancer.

You’ll find the interview with Valerie here.

9521Living More with Less was of course originally written and compiled by Doris Janzen Longacre as mentioned in the interview, (more information about Doris here).

doris-headshotShe was also the author of the well-known and bestselling More-with-Less Cookbook. The two volumes of Living More with Less (1980, 2010) are packed with ideas and actual life experiments in how real people do with less of everything.

We heartily support the goals Gerald Iversen lists at the Simple Living Works! website and blog, which, as they say, keep the spirit of Living More with Less alive:

1) To maintain the spirit of the five Life Standards of Living More with Less, the classic book by Doris Janzen Longacre

2) To continue Alternatives’ mission – “equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly,” to answer the question, “What might a Christian life look like?”

3) To offer – for free – Alternatives 150+ educational resources: text, video and audio, all under the Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial license.


Simple Living Works! is based on the simple proposition that voluntary simplicity is a faithful, satisfying and effective lifestyle. At a time when millions of North Americans (and billions of humans) are living simply INvoluntarily, we hope that Simple Living Works! will serve to show that simpler living is NOT deprivation. It is such a joy to get the burden of stuff off our backs! We focus on Enough, not Growth.

Simple Living Works! does not sell anything, nor ask for money. It is a completely voluntary educational organization. They do accept donations through their non-profit collaborator, Jubilee-Economics.org.

Their honorary board includes people like Walter Brueggemann, Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne, Ron Sider and David Beckman and more.

In short, we are thrilled for the podcast Gerald did with Valerie, and Simple Living Works’ ongoing efforts in this area.

Doris Janzen Longacre would be proud, in a humble sort of way.

*** TshirtTo salute SimpleLivingWorks, we’re sending them a free Living More with Less T-shirt (picture) and will also put your name in the hat, so to speak, to win one of three T-shirts, if you leave a comment on this blog about how you have used ideas in Living More with Less, or any relevant comment or critique on voluntary simplicity. We will also appreciate it if you share this blog post with your friends and invite them to comment/win a shirt. We have a variety of sizes, but not all sizes. We’ll discuss that with the winners! (You can also buy shirts here to help spread the message.)

We also have many more resources on the Third Way Café website pages for Living More with Less including video shorts, radio spots, photos and comments from people sharing “How I live more with less,” excerpts from the book, and more.  http://www.thirdway.com/living/


How have you used any idea or ideas in either edition of Living More with Less? What is your best Simple Living/voluntary service activity or endeavor?
(It doesn’t have to come from the book!)

Drawing entries close midnight January 8, 2014. Tell your friends!



Melodie Davis, writer, author, producer, editor

Don’t Fence Me In: Broadening our Definition of Theology

It’s my sense that the number of those who are interested in Anabaptism is on the rise. Last week I was with Marty Troyer at some meetings. Marty is pastor at Houston Mennonite Church: The Church of the Sermon on the Mount and his blog, The Peace Pastor, hosted by the Houston Chronicle, has a following in the thousands.

Marty said that he used to get an average of 2 calls per month from people interested in Anabaptism. Now he’s up to about 15 calls per month. These are people who want to meet for coffee or lunch and have conversations about what it means to be Anabaptist or Mennonite. He used to be able to say yes to all those requests. That’s not the case anymore, simply because of volume.

If you follow bloggers interested in and engaging topics related to Anabaptism, you might notice what I have: these bloggers are primarily Caucasian, male, and between the ages of 25 and 40. (Of course they aren’t all in this demographic but there does seem to be a concentration within this group.) I know from conversations with others that they have noticed this trend as well.

A few weeks ago on the MennoNerds Facebook page there was some conversation around publishing and “bestselling” theologians. Who are the “bestselling” women publishing Anabaptist theology, they asked?

Four books published by Herald Press or MennoMedia (or its predecessors) immediately come to mind.

People who don’t even talk about theology all that often know these books—and the theology within. And yet when people talk about bestselling theology titles, I doubt these four immediately came to your mind. They aren’t cataloged by booksellers under “systematic theology” or “Christian ethics” or “peacemaking.” And yet each of these books—which I label under the umbrella of practical theology—involve all those fields.

Why is that? Don’t we think about the links between food and faith, or simple living and faith? Don’t we sing our faith?

As Mennonites we practice our theology on the go, in the midst of daily life. So cookbooks, hymnals, Sunday school curricula, and a bevy of other resources shape our theological understandings much more than reading systematic theologians. (Thanks to Marlene Kropf for framing it this way for me in an email last week.)

It’s not like the theology in these books is designed to go unnoticed. Quite the contrary! It’s designed to be practiced on the go, in the midst of life.

Last week Hannah Heinzekehr wrote in her blog, The Femonite:

    Theology is about telling stories that help us to make sense of God … the stories we tell need to take into account the breadth and depth and height and width of the diversity in our midst.

Each of these books helps us move beyond defining theology narrowly, and helps us make sense of God.

The More-with-Less Cookbook is a collection of recipes and suggestions on how to enjoy more while consuming less of the world’s resources (Herald Press, 1976); Living More with Less, is a collection of tips and testimonies of people searching for ways to simplify their lives. Living More-with-Less was published by Herald Press in 1980, shortly after Doris Janzen Longacre’s death, at age 39, on November 10, 1979. (For more on Doris Janzen Longacre, go here.)


Together both books have sold close to 1 million copies. They are, by far, our bestselling books at Herald Press.

And lest you think these are just a “cookbook” and a “book of tips,” I have encountered many people across the church (including my boss and our publisher, Russ Eanes), who claim to have found the Mennonite Church because of one of these two prophetic books. The theology within should not be taken for granted.

In the book Singing: A Mennonite Voice, authors Marlene Kropf and Ken Nafziger asked people, “What would you do if someone decided that from here on out there would be no more singing in worship?” Some answers included:

  • “It would rob us of our church. … Singing is the glue that holds worship together.”
  • “I get so weary of words. The reason I go to church is to sing.”
  • “I’d dry up. It would feel like something is being squeezed out of me.”

Mennonites are known for singing their theology—whether in four parts to a hymn or with drums to an African rhythm. Much of the way we articulate our faith through music has been shaped by the contributions of two women: Mary Oyer and Rebecca Slough.

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Mary Oyer was executive secretary of the Joint Hymnal Committee that put together Mennonite Hymnal (1969). She was the only woman on the committee, and her influence on Mennonite theology should not be overlooked. Nurturing the Spirit Through Song is a book and DVD that tells about Mary’s life and influence.

When it came time to develop a Hymnal: A Worship Book (1992), Mary Oyer was again involved. This time she chaired the hymnal project for four years, and then served as project manager. Much of the way Mennonites practiced their theology through song in the last half of the 20th century and have continued to do so today goes back to Mary Oyer’s influence. Mary remains a changemaker and trailblazer for women doing theology through song.

Rebecca Slough was the managing editor of Hymnal: A Worship Book. Rebecca edited this book as she wrapped up her own PhD studies and as she navigated a variety of hymnal committees and three denominations (Mennonite Church, General Conference Mennonite Church, and Church of the Brethren). It was no easy task, to be sure.

Hymnal: A Worship Book has sold some 200,000 copies, certainly qualifying it as a bestseller and as a book that has shaped Mennonite theology these past twenty-one years.

What do you think? Do you agree with me that these are perhaps some of the most important Anabaptist theological texts of the 20th century? And what women would you add to the list of bestselling authors doing Anabaptist theology?

Amy Gingerich

Amy Gingerich
Editorial Director

P.S. Be sure to check out the “All you need is love” conference honoring the diversity of women’s voices in theology this next February. Registration opened last week!