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Meatless Monday

May 4, 2015

I like to cook but I’m not the type of person you would describe as one who loves the art of cooking. I tend toward easy-to-make dishes which translates to “not a lot of kitchen tools, ingredients or steps”. I don’t long for mouthwatering culinary delights and I’m not interested in stocking a pantry with a dozen bottles of spices or maintaining a refrigerator full of fresh herbs. I have no interest in mastering the art of French cooking or plating up Silver Palate-worthy dishes. I’m a Moosewood Restaurant kind of guy only with recipes that use just a few ingredients and can go from stove to table in about 15-20 minutes.

So I make a lot of salads, veggie stir fry dishes and any combination of rice and beans/veggies. Nothing is complicated and everything is relatively quick. My chef d’oeuvre generally involves ketchup, or some other equally mild sauce sauce, a diced veggie burger, or tofu, and a lot of frozen vegetables.

The problem is that salads, veggie stir fry and rice and beans get boring. Like really boring. When that happens I go online and search out new recipes to try and as I was searching around this morning I stumbled upon the Meatless Monday website.

The idea, as outlined on the Meatless Monday website is simple:

Meatless Monday is not a new idea. During World War I, the U.S. Food Administration urged families to reduce consumption of key staples to aid the war effort. “Food Will Win the War,” the government proclaimed, and “Meatless Monday” and “Wheatless Wednesday” were introduced to encourage Americans to do their part. The effect was overwhelming; more than 13 million families signed a pledge to observe the national meatless and wheatless conservation days.

The campaign returned during World War II when President Franklin D. Roosevelt relaunched it to help that war’s efforts on the home front. In the immediate post-war years, President Harry S. Truman continued the campaign to help feed war-ravaged Europe.

Meatless Monday was revived in 2003 by former ad man turned health advocate Sid Lerner, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future. Reintroduced as a public health awareness campaign, Meatless Monday addresses the prevalence of preventable illnesses associated with excessive meat consumption. With the average American eating as much as 75 more pounds of meat each year than in generations past, our message of “one day a week, cut out meat” is a way for individuals to do something good for themselves and for the planet.

Cool idea or what? If there’s a simpler idea out there to help people adopt a healthier and more humane approach to eating, I don’t know what it is.

So back to my every-once-in-awhile-bored-with-my-cooking-recipe-search. The Meatless Monday website is loaded with free recipes, and while some of them have a long list of ingredients and require some actual cooking, there are plenty that are designed for a ‘get it done quickly and easily’ cook like myself. Like the “Garbanzo Bean Burgers” or the “Incredibly Easy Wraps” that don’t require any cooking at all! Simply combine refried beans, carrots, celery, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, sprouts and cabbage and roll them up. Sounds like a no-brainer, I know, but for me, someone without a lot of experience, knowledge or training, the food combinations and the quantities is very important information, and possibly the difference between being a happy eater and longing for a Quarter Pounder. I might even dust off my food processor and make the “Chickpea Quinoa Burgers” that combines chickpeas, carrots, spinach and cooked yam. Yum!

I’m not going to lecture here and talk about the pros and cons of different types of lifestyles and diet choices other than to say that I know you can’t imagine a life of meals without meat. I used to think the same thing: No hamburger? No bacon? No pepperoni pizza? No Thanksgiving turkey? But eating a plant-based diet isn’t nearly as difficult as you might think. Of course the only way to find out for yourself is to give it a try and experimenting with a Meatless Monday menu might be an easy place to start. If you do decide to give it a shot I’d love to know what you made so I can think about making it for myself!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2015 12:39 pm

    I enjoy making a grilled cheese/refried beans sandwich. It’s essentially the same as a bean burito but using bread instead of tortillas.


    • Michael B. Fishman permalink*
      May 11, 2015 3:05 pm

      I’m not much of cheese eater but I’m going to try a grilled refried beans sandwich! Maybe with some onions, or diced jalapenos or… Thank you for the idea!

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 11, 2015 3:11 pm

        I generally make my refried beans with green chile. With my last refried beans I made it more Cajun using some Cajun spices and that was quite tastey.

        Liked by 1 person

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