What A Difference A Day Makes

This wonderful clip was commissioned by Animal Aid – one of the largest and longest established animal rights groups in the United Kingdom. In less than two minutes it explains how eating vegetarian for one day a week could help the environment from a logical point of view. It was created by the award-winning, London-based design/motion company Taylor McKenzie to help launch the Meatless Monday campaign.

According to a post on the Animal Aid website, livestock farming and animal slaughter are now recognized as a significant contributor to many environmental problems. They report that the United Nations stated that it is responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the entire transport sector combined. Other environmental groups say the figure could be more than 50 percent.

In my opinion, this video is a perfect way to educate and inspire others to at least think about the meat industry.  It drives the point without relying on graphic images of animal torture or judgmental messages which often turn people off to vegetarian causes. Instead, it encourages all to eat meat-free just one day a week – certainly doable even to a devoted meat-and-potatoes person – and the message is neither heavy nor guilt-ridden. The accompanying music – a loop of the lively piano intro of Moby’s “In My Heart” – works in perfect synch the upbeat theme.

 Download “In My Heart” at Amazon.com


Book Review: Linda’s Kitchen

Linda’s Kitchen: Simple and Inspiring Recipes for Meatless Meals
by Linda McCartney, first published in 1995

Linda’s Kitchen was the first vegetarian cookbook I ever bought. As I purchased it so long ago, I’m not sure if I bought it before or after I started going veg or if I was attracted more by the Beatles connection. Nonetheless, Linda’s Kitchen is a beautiful cookbook which I refer to often.

One of the most striking things about this culinary collection is the photography. As Linda was a very talented photographer, I could understand her wishing the images be just right. (Take note she did not take the photos herself. From my own experience, food photography is an art within itself and professional looking photos require a specialist along with stylists, lighting designers, etc.)  The recipes are categorized by course – soups, side dishes, main, pasta, rice & potato, etc. – as well as by season. The book also includes a basic Q&A about vegetarian basics, non-meat protein sources and basic nutrition (which helped me a lot back in 1995 as there was minimal internet access then).

As Linda and her family lived in England, the book features vegetarian alternatives for British pub dishes – including Toad in the Hole and Shepherd’s Pie – in addition to international cuisine such as paella, curries, moussaka and dhal.  Italian, Mexican and general comfort food are presented with everyday ingredients with simple directions. Some entries are actually too effortless and obvious like nachos and potato skins.  Others are very heavy with an abundance of cheese, cream and deep frying, but like any other recipe they could be altered to lighter counterparts. I really like the salad section as it offers entries with an interesting combination of fruits, vegetables and legumes.

So if you are looking for a good intro to vegetarian cooking – as this was for me – Linda’s Kitchen is a basic cookbook which will also appeal to non-vegetarians who just want to cut down on meat.  Perhaps Linda used her and her husband’s status to promote vegetarianism as a normal lifestyle through this, which it accomplishes, but in the end you will still find many meatless and tasty options to prepare for anyone.

Here is a video clip with Linda preparing her version of Chilli Non Carne, one of the 200 recipes featured in the book.

Order at amazon.com