Less meat, not more meat. USA Today has written an article describing how the trend for meat consumption in the US is on a downward trent. This article is describing exactly the way of thinking that inspired me to make this site – you don’t need animals in every meal and it should be just another choice on the menu rather than a complete lifestyle choice. The fact that more Americans are seeking meatless meals is a wonderful trend, and of course, I hope it continues.
However, it can seem like we have a choice between two things only: between meals with meat and meals that are dull; between Animal Stuff and cardboard. And that’s where many people have it wrong. Animal Free food can be delicious and easy to make. When you know how to cook this way, everything you make (I promise) will go down great with the kids and with guests.
Me, for example – I have one tough critic on my hands. I have the luck of being married to a working class English bloke who grew up eating the same meals his entire life based on the day of the week. Yes, I’m serious. Are you ready for the weekly menu?
- Sunday – Roast chicken (with three kinds of potatoes, carrots, peas and a yorkshire pudding);
- Monday – leftover roast chicken;
- Tuesday – a steaklet (frozen steak pattie) with oven chips (fries), gravy and two slices of bread with margarine;
- Wednesday – no dinner night, maybe a piece of toast with cheese;
- Thursday – another roast chicken, very similar to Sunday except with only 2 kinds of potatoes;
- Friday and Saturday were both fish & chips (Friday’s made at home, Saturday’s from the chip shop).
I am not writing this for effect – with hand to heart, this is what my husband ate every day of every week. For 32 years. Lunch? (you ask with hope in your voice)…. Lunch was either a cheese cob (cheese on a roll with margarine), or a crisp cob (potato chips on a roll with margarine), or maybe a tuna mayo on a roll with a Coke and a bag of crisps. (And please, spare me – let’s not discuss breakfast.)
So, for me to cook for this guy and have him eat animal-free meals was in fact no small feat. At least I thought it would be difficult. He is honest and some things he won’t touch. (Rice, for example – entirely out of the question.) But the food you see on this site he is genuinely happy about. And when I say ‘happy about’ I mean that he specifically requests my cauliflower cheese recipe, or my tofu-walnut meatballs and spaghetti. He asks for seconds. He gets upset that I bake too often because he’s trying to watch his figure. (We’ve signed up to run a 10K in July to battle the constant draw of the tasty things I’ve been cooking, so hopefully we’ve got that problem licked. I’ll keep you posted on that one.)
OK, back to the point – I have gone away from what I want to say. What I want to say is that it is OK to cook meals without animal stuff in them and even people in your life who always ate meat at every meal can be very happy with what you make. It’s just a way to cook that you need to learn and get used to – do it enough times that it becomes habit and it becomes quick and easy just like those other things you throw in the oven after a busy day.
Americans are eating less meat, and for many reasons (health, public health, animals, logic) I really hope we can move more in that direction. I know that we can, if we just keep trying one thing at a time.