That’s how Michael Pollan started a story for The New York Times Magazine to sum up the strikingly complex question of what humans should eat for maximum health. People seem to be heeding this message. Research shows Americans and Europeans are eating less and less meat. I’ve interviewed dozens of home cooks and how to make small shifts away from a meat-centric diet is a hot topic and not just in other people’s kitchens, but my own.
Two years ago, my mother prompted my husband, Mike, and I to watch Forks Over Knives. In a nutshell, the documentary articulates two separate research studies that demonstrates a strong correlation between meat consumption and cancer, cardiovascular disease and other ailments. After years of Midwest cooking with loads of meat, Mom is what she calls a “Fishka,” a made-up word that sounds Yiddish although she’s solidly Baptist. Essentially, she’s a fish-eating style vegetarian who will not turn down a salad if it’s got a little bacon in it.
Mike and I decided to eliminate most meat form our diets, even going so far as to forego the annual turkey at Thanksgiving. But then, Mike went on a three-day bender sampling Texas barbecue with his friend Jack, then doing research for what’s now known as the Seattle Brisket Experience. I began to test classic Midwest recipes for my third book. (Let’s just say there was a lot of beef involved.) Slowly, surely, we drifted away from our meatless convictions.
My birthday is June 1st. For that, I made a new resolution. To go back to my plant-strong dieting ways. I’m not suggesting giving up meat completely. I’ve got too much of a roast chicken addiction for such a thing. Just cutting back, and trying to focus on making my diet more plant strong.
Hence, this month’s theme of “Love Thy Vegetables” in The Year of Cooking Fearlessly, my ongoing series of cooking lessons, tips and advice, both original and curated from the web to inspire more home cooking over on CookFearless.com. For the next few weeks, I’ll be cross-posting content between the two sites as I redesign the whole shebang to be more integrated.
First up this month: Lesson #24: How to Make Vegetable Stock – Keep those scraps and help save the planet. Really.