Adventist Cookbook Authors: Work with Soyfoods

by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi


A Chapter from the Unpublished Manuscript, History of Soybeans and Soyfoods, 1100 B.C. to the 1980s

ęCopyright 2004 Soyinfo Center, Lafayette, California

The earliest known soyfoods recipes published by a Seventh-day Adventist appeared in the 1919 edition of John Harvey Kellogg's The New Method in Diabetes. He gave two recipes for using soybean puree in soups and one soybean salad.

The earliest known Seventh-day Adventist cookbook to contain a recipe for soyfoods was Frances Leena Cooper's The New Cookery (9th ed.), published in 1924 (Modern Medicine Publishing Co., Battle Creek, Michigan).

Starting in 1935 a number of important books and cookbooks about soyfoods were written by Adventist authors. They played a key role in introducing soyfoods to America.

Frances L. Dittes, Food for Life (1935). This excellent cookbook and its author have been discussed earlier in the subchapter at Madison Foods.

Dorothea Van Gundy Jones, La Sierra Recipes (1936) and The Soybean Cookbook (1963). The daughter of California's first soyfoods pioneer, Mr. T.A. Van Gundy, Dorothea was born on 16 February 1903 in San Jose, California. In 1924 she graduated from Adventist-run La Sierra Academy in Southern California, then in 1927 received a degree in Dietetics from Loma Linda University (then College of Missionary Evangelists) and in 1928 received a BS from Pacific Union College. In about 1928 she started working with soyfoods, demonstrating them for her father's business, La Sierra Industries, as described earlier. In 1935 Dorothea's father died and some time thereafter his business failed.

In 1936 Dorothea wrote and self-published La Sierra Recipes, a 47-page book with many creative and varied recipes describing how to use her father's soy products. Details on the recipes are given in the subchapter on T.A. Van Gundy.

After 1935-36, she cared for her blind and widowed mother, served as dietitian for Garden City Sanitarium and for a Beverly Hills physician, then became Food Service Director at La Sierra College, head of a college home economics department, and later dietician in a San Jose hospital. In November 1952 she started working for Loma Linda Foods as a dietician and food demonstrator. In August 1960 she was married (her first marriage) to Ed Jones, a health food salesman and distributor, 13 years her senior, who had carried her father's soyfoods after 1929, and whom she had courted in the mid-1940s. Ed had ended up marrying Mildred Lager (see Chapter 64), who died in 1960. Shortly after marrying Dorothea, Ed had suggested that she go through Mildred's two excellent and comprehensive books on soyfoods, The Useful Soybean (McGraw Hill, 1945) and How to Use the Soybean (self-published, 1955, basically an update of the first book), and revise the books to conform to Seventh-day Adventist dietary teachings. The new, updated book would continue to serve as a key source of information about soyfoods, while also bringing Dorothy and Ed some extra income. Dorothea liked the idea, so she did a careful and extensive reworking of the book, eliminating meat from all recipes, adding some of the recipes she had used while working with her father, and reducing the general information about soyfoods, replacing it with recipes. The new book, entitled The Soybean Cookbook, with the authors listed as Mildred Lager and Dorothea Van Gundy Jones, was published by Devin Adair in 1963. In a subsequent mass market pocketbook edition by ARCO and a hardcover edition by Gramercy, only Dorothea was listed as the author. By 1980, the ARCO pocketbook edition of the book alone, then in its ninth printing, had sold over 600,000 copies, making it the best-selling book on soyfoods in American history. Dorothea and Ed sold many copies of the book by mail order from their home and through Loma Linda Foods.

Dorothea was much more than an author. In her work with Loma Linda Foods, as a nutritionist for the International Nutrition Research Foundation, (established in Riverside by Dr. Harry Miller) she gave hundreds of lectures about soyfoods across America, showed their many delicious uses in cooking classes and demonstrations, and wrote lots of articles about them. Her husband was her constant traveling companion and active class helper. Class attendance ranged from 50 to 1,200. Dorothea was a very hard worker and unusually well organized. An excellent lecturer, she had a deep knowledge of and enthusiasm for this subject she had pioneered. She felt that, especially for vegetarians, soyfoods were a gift from God. She did not use dairy milk or eggs in any of her recipes, explaining that, with soyfoods, they were unnecessary. She believed that a total vegetarian or vegan diet, done with caution in the case of infants, young children, and pregnant or lactating mothers, was the most healthful; this was not a very popular position at the time, but she was not pushy about it, although she was outspoken. Most people felt that Dorothea's personality helped her in teaching about soyfoods. Friends have commented: "She was the most cheerful person I have ever met. She saw the bright side