To Meat or Not to Meat

[Thanks for pic,!]

 I've been stricken with a curse this week: a cold has stolen my sense of taste. For a few days I still had my sense of smell, but now that's gone too. The funny/interesting bit? I can still tell if something is supposed to be sweet because that part of my tongue gets activated, but the flavor is nonexistent. Some ways to capitalize on my affliction have come to mind--suppose I set up a kissing booth, and for $25 I'd give you a big smooch and you would soon lose your sense of taste and drop a few pounds! The Kissing Diet, I could call it. And a much more pleasant way to lose weight than the stomach flu. I also thought that now is the time to eat some good-for-you things that actually taste kind of nasty. My ten-year-old suggested eggplant. I would add okra and liver to that list.

But while I may not be able to taste or enjoy my food at the moment, I still think about it as much as I ever did. I've been looking over Deborah Madison's new edition of her classic cookbook Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which I have mentioned several times on this blog because it's one of the well-stained, well-used standards in my kitchen.

As Madison points out in her introduction, it used to be that people were either vegetarian or they weren't, but now even the most Paleo-dieting carnivores are known to eat vegetarian once in a while, and no diet says you should reduce the number of vegetables you consume (unless it's corn or potatoes). Other things have also changed since she put out the original in 1997. As she points out,

Soy, for example, is not quite the star we once thought it was, and today the emphasis has shifted to fermented soy...Butter isn't always bad...Olive oil is mostly good but still not really regulated; canola oil not so much. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a bigger problem for us today, as they have proliferated and are still unlabeled. We were not eating kale salads at all during the seven years when I was writing [the original]; now they're everywhere. Coconut oil was still considered a harmful saturated fat. Now it's considered a good fat, and a very delicious one, too.

It's these changes and more that she takes into account with her revision, as well as adding "dozens" of new recipes, while retaining old favorites. Just be be sure, I checked on some of my old favorites: pico de gallo, granola, Greek salad, lentil minestrone. All there! And now there's "Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cherries and Fresh Pomegranate Seeds" and "Quinoa Salad with Mangoes and Curry Dressing." Oh my word.

This is the perfect cookbook to lay hands on as we go into Bellevue Farmers Market season, and you wonder what to do with that beautiful vegetable you bought. Some of Madison's recipes are complicated--yes--but many, many are not, and I've made plenty of the not-complicated ones and even some of the complicated. As with the original cookbook, there are sections devoted to each particular vegetable, in addition to mixtures like salads and soups and gratins and pastas.

My husband claims he just goes on the internet if he wants to find a recipe, and I do that too, but I must say, I will never get rid of my foundational, reference, tried-and-true cookbooks, and this is one of the few on my shelf. I highly recommend.

Meanwhile, the omnivores among us might be interested in this interesting article on meat production from Modern Farmer:

Check the original article so you can see details!

While meat consumption has actually dropped some in the U.S., it's still on the rise in developing countries, and chickens and pigs are more on the upswing than beef and lamb because they are more easily factory-farmed. More factory farms means increased demand for feed grains like soybeans, "which will have to double in yield by 2050." Yikes.

Even meat-lovers like me will admit it's going to be tough on the animals and tough on the earth if everyone on the planet wants meat every day. Maybe we could all "meat" in the middle? Say, eating meat 3-4 times per week and vegetarian 3-4 times? In which case, be sure you grab your copy of Deborah Madison's book!