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The NonRecipe Book combines philosophy, memoir, and cooking instruction

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The NonRecipe Book, written by Amanda Presgraves, includes illustrations by Nat Ambrosey.

A Harrisonburg author has published a new book that combines philosophy, memoir, and cooking instruction. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

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Amanda Presgraves
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The book is available in print and on Kindle.

The NonRecipe Book is the first by author Amanda Presgraves, a professional triathlete and food systems consultant. At first, she set out to write a recipe book, but realized that her cooking style is less about following directions than creatively using the resources she has at hand – and that's what she wants to teach readers.

AMANDA PRESGRAVES: I have 26 illustrated, process-oriented 'non-recipes,' as I call them, that walk the reader through the process of creating something unique to their needs.

Take, for example, the Springy Zingy Noodle Bowl, which combines fresh veggies sauteed with tempeh with a ginger soy sauce and rice noodles. Except the noodles could instead be couscous, or quinoa, and the tempeh could be edamame or chickpeas.

The book also includes Presgraves' musings on philosophy, personal history, nutritional science, and food access.

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Andrew DeVier-Scott
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Presgraves pictured biking near the Big Schloss peak.

PRESGRAVES: Food is incredibly complex and multi-dimensional. You can't consider food without considering social justice and race, food access, nutritional health, the environment, culture, psychology, the list goes on.

Her experiences as an athlete with ADHD also inform her writing.

PRESGRAVES: I've always been so passionate about studying what went into my body and how I can best give my body the nourishment that it needs to perform. … I do think that this book is very valuable to, also, those that are neurodivergent and maybe feel like they're existing within a world that wasn't designed for them.

You can learn more on her website at amandapresgraves.com.

Randi B. Hagi first joined the WMRA team in 2019 as a freelance reporter. Her writing and photography have been featured in The Harrisonburg Citizen, where she previously served as the assistant editor; as well as The Mennonite; Mennonite World Review; and Eastern Mennonite University's Crossroads magazine.