Cookbook review written by
I first committed to Meatless Mondays as part of last year’s culinary resolutions, a concept which I have again added to my list for 2011. Honestly, my pledge came from a place of obligation rather than passion and while our family did manage to go most weeks with at least one day free of meat it felt like a chore. As a cook (and lover of meat) I just wasn’t feeling ‘it’, and I must admit that as a result the meals I threw together on Mondays were far from spectacular. And I like to be spectacular in my kitchen.
I’d have to say that my biggest challenge with Meatless Mondays has always been around recipe inspiration, and I typically rely on easy solutions such as pastas or salads unless I have a specific recipe in mind. So when I first heard of Kim O’Donnel’s new book – The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook – I was interested to find out if the concept of designing vegetarian recipes for meat eaters would successfully satisfy my family’s appetite. The idea seemed like a good one, as there are countless vegetarian cookbooks but not many geared towards those looking to reduce their consumption of meat rather than abstain from it completely.
Kim O’Donnel is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, and has written for the Washington Post, Real Simple, and Huffington Post. After committing to the concept of going meatless one day a week, Kim asked her readers at the Washington Post what they would need in order to integrate this concept into their lives. Their response? Recipes!
Written specifically for carnivores looking to integrate more plant-based meals into their diets, this book celebrates dietary diversity and meat in moderation. The overall tone is warm and not in the least intimidating, the author guiding you through each recipe in an encouraging manner. The recipes are substantial enough to satisfy meat eaters, the book designed as a collection of 52 menus (one for each week of the year) based on seasonal eating.
The ‘Make it a Meal’ sidebars are great for suggested side dishes with mix-and-match versatility, and each recipe includes icons denoting whether the dish is gluten-free, vegan, kid friendly or perfect for leftovers. There is a pantry lexicon, and kitchen tricks and tips scattered throughout the book which are all nice additions.
In my opinion the lack of photographs is unfortunate, as I prefer visual inspiration when tackling new frontiers with my palate. It’s a comfort thing; wanting photographic reassurances that I’m doing it ‘right’.
Meatless Mondays have now become an exciting culinary adventure in our household. A huge part of the reason for our renewed passion is this book which has definitely earned a place on my VIP Kitchen shelf. I know each week I’ll be reaching for inspiration from within its pages.
The whole concept of Meatless Mondays is to promote a decreased consumption of meat in order to improve personal health and the health of the planet. Becoming a once-a-week vegetarian is a trend that we are now seeing extended into restaurants, businesses, and even schools. To find out more about the Meatless Monday campaign, please visit www.meatlessmonday.com