Every Monday is meatless in my home. Most Tuesdays-Sundays as well, as regular readers of this blog already know. Okay, there’s one notable exception, which you can read all about in a recent post, A Culinary Confession.
But for the purposes of this blog entry: I’ve essentially been a veg head for the past three decades, my 11-year-old son is a strict vegetarian. A Monday without meat is no big deal to us.
I realize, though, that for some folks who want to eat more greens and less meat, whether for health, economic, or environmental reasons, passing up a little flesh at the beginning of the week may pose a challenge.
No worries, Lettuce Eat Kale is here to help. Today, just in time for dinner, I’m going to share some really simple tips to wean you from your carnivorous ways, if only for one day a week.
What follows, the first in a series of how-to-channel-your-inner-herbivore posts for interested parties who want to dish up more plants for dinner.
But first, a little recap on what’s going on in the meat-free world and why now is as good a time as any to join the club.
Almost a year ago, I wrote about the Meat Free Monday campaign out of England, in which celebrities Yoko Ono and Sir Paul McCartney struck up the band for eating only plant-based foods on Mondays. Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael Pollan have followed suit.
Lately, there’s been loads of action on the eat-less-meat front:
- The city of San Francisco recently passed a non-binding resolution urging restaurants, food stores, and schools to eschew serving animals on Mondays. My former adopted hometown always wants to be on the cutting edge, culinarily-speaking and otherwise. While I’m not sure how I feel about politicians deciding what its citizenry should or shouldn’t put in their mouths (with the exception of ciggies) it’s certainly a significant societal gesture — and it sure did make the city’s carnivores mad cow crazy mad. What’s their beef? Click here to find out.
- Oakland schools have meatless Mondays. So do students in Covington, Kentucky. Baltimore schools kicked the daily carnivore habit last year.
- Mario Batali just announced he’s going green on Mondays in all 14 of his restaurants across the country. (Meat eaters need not despair, the celeb chef’s chowhouses will offer two vegetarian dishes every Monday, in a nod to the needs of the planet, along with their regular omnivorous offerings.) Still, that’s a huge coup for the anti-carnivore crowd.
I’m going to leave the advocacy to others. I’ll just note that this is quite the global movement: Even my meat-and-potatoes loving mother country has an active Meatless Monday presence. Go Aussies, go.
And, now, on to today’s tips.
5 Meatless Monday Resources for Newbies:
Check out Meatless Monday: One-stop shopping, duh, for your meatless Monday needs. Recipes, menus, rationales, it’s all here on this site devoted to cutting out meat one day a week for your health and the health of the planet. Celebrities too! This U.S. non-profit initiative is brought to you by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Keep up with Kim O’Donnel: Stay up-to-speed on meatless eating with Seattle-based Kim O’Donnel, a trained chef and former online food columnist at The Washington Post. She’s also the author of The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook (due out this fall), files edible dispatches at True/Slant, and hosts vegetarian-friendly weekly Web chats on Culinate.
Collect a Classic Vegetarian Cookbook (or Two): I happen to love (and use) many of Deborah Madison‘s cookbooks, especially Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Ditto Mollie Katzen‘s collection, in particular The New Moosewood Cookbook, as well as her series for kids. Also: Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
Build a Veg-Centric Recipe Binder: Organize all those veggie recipes you’ve stashed in strange places so you can easily find Monday mealtime inspiration. Clip from newspapers and magazines and keep in plastic sheets. Don’t ignore less obvious places to pick up interesting dinner ideas. I’m a fan of Robyn Webb‘s recipes in Diabetes Forecast, for instance.
Find Veg-Friendly Food Bloggers: Surf online: There are loads of vegan and vegetarian cyberspace scribes. For starters, look at these lovely sites: 101 Cookbooks, Vegan Yum Yum, Herbivoracious, Eat Your Vegs, and FatFree Vegan. Bookmark those you like, and others you discover, that get you in the mood to go meatless.
Now, it’s your turn. Share your favorite vegetarian cookbook title below or chime in with other resources — online or otherwise — that help inspire you to make plant-based meals.
And do let me know what obstacles you run into in your efforts to make Monday — or any other day of the week — meatless.