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Tales of an Almost Vegetarian

October 20, 2009

almostvegetarianShortly after graduating from college, as a budding cookbook editor, I had an idea for a cookbook.  I found an author for the book, got the approval from the publisher, and in 1994 Almost Vegetarian was published.

The subtitle of the book was “A Primer for Cooks Who Are Eating Vegetarian Most of the Time, Chicken and Fish Some of the Time, and Altogether Well All of the Time.”  Not a short subtitle (succinctness has never been my strongest suit), but descriptive.  It was the way I ate then, the way I still eat now, and while the book did very well, it was kind of ahead of its time.  Now, 15 years later, this is the way tons of us eat, for all sort of reasons.

I do not like red meat.  I’m happy to cook it for my family and friends.  It just doesn’t do it for me.  It’s not because of health concerns, or religious reasons, or moral concerns – while I respect all of these reasons,  I’m perfectly sanguine about having landed on the pointy end of the food chain.  Go, humans.  Hello, lobster.  Having said that, for all sorts of reasons, it would behoove the human race to eat less meat, and to treat animals a whole lot differently before we eat them.People are eating less red meat because they are worrying about their cholesterol or their weight, because they are trying to tread more lightly on the earth (one generally accepted statistic is that it takes 25,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat; wowsers), because they are trying to save money, because they don’t wish to eat animals at all.  (Don’t we all know at least one strict vegetarian married to someone who lives for their next hamburger?)

Are you eating less meat?  Or no?  And if so, why?  And what new foods have you discovered as you plot out your meals?

P.S. I recently wrote an article about foods celebrity chefs hate, and at the end of the piece, to spur comments amongst readers, added the fact that I don’t care for red meat.  And WOW did a few vehement haters come out of the woodwork. Apparently, the fact that I write about food yet don’t eat red meat struck them as somewhere between ludicrous and offensive.  I guess they never heard of the Moosewood Collective.  Well, Angry in Akron, I’m sorry that my dislike of red meat is such a hot button for you.  You do not have to come over for dinner.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Lutie permalink
    October 20, 2009 5:58 pm

    Love it, Katie. As a lacto-ovum-pescatarian (!), I pulled back from full vegetarianism and a brief stab at veganism a few years ago mostly because I missed mussels and oysters so much. It’s been twenty years without red meat or poultry and I could use some new ideas…
    Oooooh, Angry in Akron- bummer to miss out on dinner at Katie’s!

  2. October 20, 2009 6:02 pm

    I an consuming much less red meat the past few+ years than I have normally for all the years prior. I eat it 0-2x week. I actually will plan out in advance red meat meals, avoiding red meat one day because I know I am eating it later in the week.

    Reasons: when I eat too much 2-3 days in a row, my digestive system gets out of whack. Also, my girlfriends daughter went the vegetarian route a couple years ago, so now I try to build meals around her, and that means much less meats in general. I haven’t lost weight from it (damn you, bread and pasta!), but my cholesterol levels are down.

  3. Kermalkin permalink
    October 20, 2009 11:33 pm

    Great topic, and one that so many people do not want to talk about.

    Learning how to create and enjoy meals that do not revolve around meat is a good idea for health, animals, and the environment.

  4. Zee permalink
    October 21, 2009 8:24 pm

    I loved your colum and had to laugh re: the risotto. My siblings and I will still fight over left over risotto my mother makes for Thanksgiving. Each of us demanded that she teach us before we left home. Her’s is a recipe with saffron rice and sausage. Hmmm… my mouth is already watering just thinking about it. 🙂

  5. wes permalink
    October 23, 2009 2:19 am

    I am the almost vegetarian that is married to the steadfast meateater. I found that if I don’t say the word vegetarian he is much more likely to try something. As soon as something is labelled vegetarian, he doesn’t even want to try it.

    I have always eaten tofu, but I recently discover tempeh. The way that I like it best for now is with a homemade spicy Asian barbecue sauce. I have also found that mushrooms add a lot of rich flavor to many dishes.

  6. November 7, 2009 12:10 am

    That was one of my favorite books back 15 years ago when I started cooking more vegetarian, I really loved the book and still do.

    • Katie Workman, Editor-in-Chief permalink*
      November 10, 2009 1:10 pm

      That is so cool to hear!

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