Hillsborough, NH — Brooklyn-born Beatrice Trum Hunter, creator of “The Natural Foods Cookbook” and 37 other healthful food books, passed away at the age of 98 on Wednesday, May 17, in Hillsborough, NH, according to the New York Times. Born Beatrice Josephine Trum on December 16, 1918 to Gabriel Trum and Martha Engle, Beatrice remained in Brooklyn until 1955 when she and her husband, John, purchased a white two-story farmhouse on 78 acres in Deering, NH. After a time, the couple converted the property into an inn for like-minded naturalists to enjoy.
A former public school teacher, Mrs. Hunter first published her book, “The Natural Foods Cookbook” in 1961. Her initial foray into healthful eating was initiated in 1933 by a book she had read in high school, “100,000,000 Guinea Pigs” by Arthur Kallet and Frederick J. Schlink, that proposed that American consumers were being used as unsuspecting guinea pigs for the food industry, as well as the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. She began to change her eating habits then to improve her health.
“The first thing I did was to cut out sugar,” Mrs. Hunter told Yankee magazine in 2015, “and then I began to use more whole grains and more fresh vegetables and fruits.” She then went on to warn consumers about the dangers of eating artificial additives, preservatives and processed foods.
As Mrs. Hunter’s reputation grew, established and prominent health pioneers would seek guidance and advice from her. Among them were nutritionist Adelle Davis and environmentalist Rachel Carson who would add knowledge given to them by Mrs. Hunter into their best-selling books.
In addition to her own publications, Mrs. Hunter also held a food editor position for Consumers’ Research Bulletin magazine and appeared on a nutritional program entitled “Beatrice Trum Hunter’s Natural Foods” on WGBH, a Boston public television station.
Although Mrs. Hunter’s interests were varied, ranging from natural foods to photography, she never lost her desire to help inform consumers about what they were putting into their bodies.