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For: -- February 26, 2017
By: Charles Fillmore
Topic: The Unity Cookbook...

Early on Charles Fillmore did not understand the importance of diet in his life. However, as he prayed for guidance on the matter he was shown that the food that entered the human body passes through a refining process he called “regeneration.” This was a prerequisite for the building of the human body into a new, spiritual Christ body. He determined that vibrations quickened the cellular structure of the subconscious mind in specific nerve centers and that the food consumption directly impacted regeneration. He concluded that conscious growth in spiritual life must overcome carnal appetite through careful discrimination in food selection and preparation. “Only those things will be eaten,” Fillmore wrote in 1923, “that are easily assimilated by both soul and body.” He concluded that only vegetarian food could meet this Spirit-directed requirement. As a result, the Unity movement would become vegetarian. Fillmore observed that the food cell was a “mind battery,” and the appetite was primarily spiritual and needed to be treated as such. To promote his vegetarian thinking, he created Unity Inn (now Unity Banquet and Dining), not as a commercial venture but rather as an educational public service to convince people that the vegetarian diet was best suited for humanity. The Unity Inn located at the corner of 9th and Tracy in Kansas City, Missouri, was one of the largest vegetarian cafeterias in the world. As many as 200 guests could be served at one setting. At its peak, the Inn served 10,000 vegetarian meals per week. In 1923 Unity School of Christianity published the Unity Inn Cookbook, which addressed comprehensive dietary guidelines required to ensure proper nourishment for the body, as a temple, to achieve optimum spiritual fulfillment. Recipes ranged across the broad spectrum of food preparation, including salads and salad dressings, meat substitutes, sandwiches, soups, sauces, gravies, desserts, drinks, breads, cakes, candies, pastries, and hors d’oeuvres. The cookbook provided recipes for adults but also included a section for children. It recommended meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whether at the Inn or at home, food preparation needed to observe “Unity’s principles of feeding the triune man.” Specific guidelines focused on protein foods and appropriate use of fats and oils. Charles Fillmore called for a balanced diet and admonished the inclusion of eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, gluten, and dried peas. Butter substitutes such as nut butter were acceptable but all fats needed to be vegetable fats. Crisco, konut, and kaola were best for shortening and frying. Butter-floavored fats of vegetable margarines[1] were better for cakes and cookies. Mazola and Wesson oil, peanut oil, olive oils, corn oil, and cottonseed oils were best used in Unity food preparation. Charles Fillmore anticipated the problems of withdrawal when moving to a completely meat-free diet. For example, he recommended starting slowly by eating only one meal of raw food per day but allowed for each person to decide the best plan for them. The authors of the cookbook would sometimes give recipes unique names in order to attract its readers. Some names included Blinkbonnie Pilaf, Potatoes on the Half Shell, Lady Finger Pudding, Welsh Rarebit—No. 1 and Welsh Rarebit—No. 2, Something for Lunch, and Creamed Hubbard Squash. Since vegetables dominated his meal guidelines, Fillmore directed proper preparation as well. For example, the addition of salt seasoning became a matter of timing. All top-ground vegetables were to be cooked in salted water. Underground vegetables should be salted after cooking. Watery vegetables, such as squash and spinach, should be cooked using steam, or in a pan with minimal water. Along with vegetable consumption, eating nuts formed a foundation in the Unity diet. The cost of nuts during the 1920s was not excessive, and when prepared properly, Charles Fillmore said nuts were “reasonably digestible.” Fillmore stated that nuts were “a substitute for the flesh element in a natural food system.” The 1923 cookbook included a sizable number of recipes where nuts were the primary focus. These included Nut Balls, two different recipes for Nut Croquettes, Peanut Roast, Peanut Fritters, Nut Paste, and Nut Scrapple where the ingredients were prepared into a mush, placed in a shallow pan to set, then made into thin strips, and finally fried. The chief virtue of a salad is its crispness and freshness: “Without these qualities,” Charles Fillmore wrote, “no salad serves its purpose.” A salad should be pleasing to the eye because it is an appetizer to be included in every meal, although the lunch and supper salads should be more substantial. The timing of mixing the salad is crucial and should be done just before serving “and not one minute sooner than is necessary.” French dressing should be used rather than heavier dressings.

         

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