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Monday, April 5, 2010

Meatless Monday (and maybe Tuesday too)

For several years now, we've been eating less meat, especially red meat, than we had in the past, in part because of our expanding understanding of the health benefits of a more plant-based diet, also as a step toward reducing our food expenses, and in response to an increased awareness of the appalling conditions in which most animals are raised for market.

The concept of Meatless Monday came from the efforts of a not-for-profit initiative of the Monday Campaigns in conjunction with the John Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health to reduce meat consumption by 15%.

Accrding to their website, "Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel."

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not opposed to eating meat. In fact, we enjoy meat and eat it often. We're just using a lot less now. For example, instead of a meat sauce for pasta that calls for a pound of ground beef, we might make a rich tomato sauce using three slices of good quality bacon to give it a little more flavor. In the past we might have added chicken to a hearty vegetable soup, but now we are content to use organic chicken stock and let the vegetables stand on their own.  And we're more likely to make a stir fry with just vegetables and maybe some shrimp, whereas in the past, we almost always added some chicken or leftover pork.

My good friend, cookbook author and Three Many Cooks  blogger Pam Anderson is working on a new book entitled Meatless Mondays, offering recipes and menus for meals made without meat. The book grew out of her own realization that her family's health, and the health of the planet are tied to meat consumption.

A well-rounded omnivore, Pam also knows that by reducing the amount of animal flesh she prepares for her family and guests, she will reduce the amount of money she spends on meat products. This savings allows her to buy better quality, more humanely raised and slaughtered meats...just less of it.

On a recent blog post, Pam wrote,
     "I wasn’t ready to go full-time vegetarian. I love Easter lamb, Christmas prime rib, Fourth-of-July   ribs, and Memorial Day burgers too much to foreswear flesh. But it was becoming clear: I didn’t need to eat as much meat, and especially not the kind of meat being produced today. If I could eat less meat, I could afford to buy better meat.

    With the zeal of day-old dieter, I made the shift to meatless with relative ease, simply trading eggplant for sausage on pizza and white beans and cauliflower for Bolognese. But three meals a day, in all kinds of situations—at home, at parties, in restaurants—eventually it gets tough. To be vegetarian for the long haul I had to integrate the new way into my old life. It wasn’t good enough just to substitute vegetables for meat. Like weight maintenance, if it’s for real and forever, I had to make a life-style adjustment.
     Two things happened. I started developing a set of techniques and formulas a la How to Cook Without a Book, so I could easily cook without recipes on meatless days. Second, I started developing meatless dishes that were as fun and enticing as entrees con carne. For me they had to be so good I’d be just as likely to make them on days when I didn’t “have to.”"

I'm looking forward to reading and cooking from Pam's new book, and I hope many people will buy it and learn how to enjoy meatlesss Mondays, and maybe a few Tuesdays too.


  1. I just wrote an article about people eating locally, including buying any meat they do choose to eat from local farms so at least, as you mention, it's a better-quality product.

    You just reminded me: I still have my free kosher turkey from Thanksgiving (redeemed with points at the supermarket) in my freezer. I believe you're only supposed to freeze produce for 6 months so looks like I'll be cooking a turkey some time in the near future!


  2. Good quality meat is what is key...and that includes pastured, grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone free, humanely raised and slaughtered animals. And local is often the way to go, especially if we also want to factor in carbon footprint issues. These products are going to be far more expensive than factory farm meat, but if we eat less meat and more plant-based meals, we can afford the better quality meat. It's win-win! Send me a link to your local foods article. And good luck with the about a frugal food...tell me how many meals you can make from it...don't forget to make stock from the carcass!

  3. My cousin just posted a link to your blog on Facebook, and I'm glad to find it. Take a look at my sister's blog,

  4. Nancy, Thanks for letting me know about your sister's blog. And please thank your cousin for posting a link.