Monday, June 14, 2010

Response to Sarah Martin with Suggestions for Cooking for a Meat Eating Husband

Sarah Martin commented:

I have been slowly eliminating meat from my diet, but it's been difficult because my husband loves the stuff and I'm still researching the importance of meat relating to children's diet. I saw on your blog that your children were vegan but went back to meat. How about your husband, is he on the vegan bandwagon? I would like to try some meat free meals that would be tasty and nutritious, can you recommend any good cookbooks I might try.
I'd appreciate your suggestions on both the husband and the cookbooks.


Sarah, I'm sorry you had a difficult time posting. I was traveling, visiting libraries, for a while and didn't see your email.

It is so good to hear that you have been slowly eliminating meat from your diet. I understand that your husband loves to eat meat (some call it "dead animals" - sorry). My husband at times says he became a vegan (especially after reading "The China Study" and another time after reading the book that I sent him about the macho fire fighters who became vegans) but then goes back to eating meat, saying he "needs his strength." Currently he eats fish when given the chance.

Since my husband is Chinese, he likes various ethnic foods - my favorites too, so I can make things like curries, which he likes. Just this weekend I made a vegetable curry with potatoes, soy crumbles, green beans and carrots over brown rice. It's like a hearty stew. Another day I made vegetarian fried rice and served it with corn on the cob.

Whenever I cook, I start with the grain. A hearty grain is filling and satisfying. So you could start by cooking a whole wheat pasta, brown or white rice, quinea, couscous or another grain. Then decide if you want to go Italian, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican or something else. Then cook the veggies (stir fried, baked, or stewed) with the appropriate seasonings to match the ethnicity of the dish. Finally throw in a bean into the mix. Between the hearty grain and the bean (black, pinto, brown, lima, or tofu) your husband will think he is eating meat. Another idea is to add a hearty mushroom, as that has a meaty flavor too. Costco is selling some excellent fancy dried mushrooms that can be reconstituted.

I hope these ideas help you. Hopefully he isn't a "meat and potatoes kind of guy." That has to be a little trickier. In that case, maybe he will eat a "stew" that has seitan as the meat substitute.

As for cookbooks, why not try "Vegan Planet" by Robin Robertson,"Alternative Vegan" by Dino Sarma, "Everyday Greens" by Annie Somerville, "Three Bowls: Recipes from an American Zen Buddhist Monastery" by Seppo Ed Farrey and "The Complete Tassajara Cookbook" by Edward Espe Brown. I love all of these, for different reasons. Some may be vegetarian, rather than all totally vegan, but for those recipes, just do some substitutions.

Thank you for writing to me, Sarah, and best wishes to you. Please let me know how your cooking goes for your husband. Bonnie