happy 70th birthday, paul!

Paul with daughters Stella and Mary (photo © 2011 Mary McCartney)

Back in the Dark Ages, when I was a dreamy 12-year-old listening to the radio in my bedroom with the pink curtains and wall-to-wall Beatles pictures, it was inconceivable that any of the Fab Four would ever age.

Well, it seems Sir Paul has decided to turn 70 today and I can’t think of any other classic rocker who’s managed to age quite so well. Still has his boyish good looks and charm, still writes, records, performs and tours, still the idol of millions all over the world. Whenever I see him, I still feel like that innocent middle schooler watching the Ed Sullivan Show, so lucky to have witnessed that watershed moment in history when popular music changed forever.

You probably know Paul is a longtime vegetarian, who, with his daughters Stella and Mary, launched the Meatfree Monday campaign in London back in 2009. Last fall they published The Meat Free Monday Cookbook (Kyle Books, 2011).  I just purchased the American edition (released March 2012), and decided to make one of the recipes to celebrate Paul’s birthday.

The recipes are grouped by season, with suggestions for every Monday throughout the year (2 main recipes plus 4 ideas for each meal of the day). I was happy to see that the recipes are not pretentious or intimidating — there are familiar favorites like Old Fashioned Mac and Cheese, Best Ever Banana Bread, Caesar Salad, Carrot Soup and Fried Bean Tacos, along with oodles of other enticing recipes that would likely appeal to happy herbivores, curious carnivores and obliging omnivores (Tuscan Bean and Vegetable Soup, Bubble and Squeak, Pilau Rice with Cashews, Strawberries with Mascarpone and Cream, Capuccino Cupcakes, Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding). Mwah!

Most are McCartney family favorites, with other recipes by famous chef and celebrity Meatfree Monday supporters like Mario Batali, Pink, Twiggy, Kevin Spacey, and Woody Harrelson.

 I made Paul McCartney’s Super Vegetable Salad, which combines a favorite type of lettuce, finely chopped spring onions, steamed veggies (carrots, green beans, broccoli), and roasted cherry tomatoes all drizzled with a classic vinaigrette. Len and I enjoyed the salad with the suggested cornmeal-breaded fried tofu — a refreshing, light summer supper that we’ll likely have again. Although the recipe didn’t specify, I tossed the tomatoes in a little olive oil before roasting them in the oven, and added salt and pepper to the dressing.

I like to imagine Paul rinsing the cherry tomatoes (close your eyes and I’ll kiss you), spinning the lettuce dry (she’s got a ticket to ride), and steaming the broccoli, beans and carrots (let it be). This salad is your all-purpose here, there and everywhere standby, its deliciousness and success only limited by your imagination. In my life, I couldn’t love a bunch of veggies more.

Other recipes from the book I’m anxious to try:

Sicilian Cauliflower Pasta (click for recipe via Pure Wow, photo by Tara Fisher).


Paella Verduras (click for recipe via Sheerluxe, photo by Tara Fisher).

Going meatfree one day a week is very doable, and as Paul says, a meaningful practice with many lasting benefits not only for ourselves, but for future generations:

  • Health Boost — there is more and more medical evidence linking life-threatening diseases like cancer, Type II diabetes and heart disease with meat consumption. Reducing animal fat in the diet may also lower the risk of dementia, especially in women.
  • Caring for the Environment — eating less meat will help to significantly cut down on greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock production — a significant step towards slowing global warming.
  • Economic Reasons — we can save money by opting for less expensive substitutes for meat and fish.

And of course there’s also the sensitive issue of animal rights and welfare. Most of us care about our planet and want to help, but often feel overwhelmed about what to do, where to begin. Making a more conscious, positive choice about what we eat on a daily basis is not only simple but totally within our power.

Pizza Two Ways (click for recipe via Sheerluxe, photo by Tara Fisher)

Keep in mind that The Meatfree Monday Cookbook is broadly vegetarian rather than vegan, so it does contain recipes calling for eggs and dairy products. With its focus on fruits and veggies, it’s an attractive offering for those following gluten-free diets.

The UK Meatfree Monday campaign is part of a global movement that includes Meatless Monday launched here in the U.S. in 2003. There are now about 20+ other countries participating with their own versions of going meatless one-day-a-week. It’s encouraging to know that one small positive change, implemented collectively, can have a  huge impact.

To top off this special Meatfree Monday, enjoy this video of the birthday boy making mashed potatoes. Such charm and charisma — a natural chef!  I never tire of watching him and think we should all make mashed potatoes for dinner tonight in honor of Paul’s birthday. We love you, Paul, and send 70 of our best wishes!


♥ Check out the Meatfree Monday website for lots more info, recipes and promotional downloadables.

♥ Other Paul-related posts at Alphabet Soup:


This post is being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food related posts (recipes, fiction/nonfiction/movie/cookbook reviews, photos, musings, etc.). Come share in the deliciousness!


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

47 thoughts on “happy 70th birthday, paul!

  1. I was thrilled to see Sir Paul when I opened today’s post! I, too, have such nostalgic memories of coming home from high school and my sister asking me, “Have you heard about the Beatles?” I thought she meant “Beetles”–a bug invasion. Then I heard “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and saw them on Ed Sullivan…


    1. So glad to hear you’re a Beatles fan too, Judy! There’s still nothing in pop music to top Beatlemania — what an exciting, thrilling time. The Lennon-McCartney musical legacy is timeless and classic. I always say I was glad I was born at the right time to experience all of it.


  2. Nostalgic, and up to date all at the same time, Jama. I was grown when all this happened but also remember arguments between an aunt & uncle & their twin daughters who thought they might die if they didn’t get to go to the first Beatles concert in their city. Swoon. My husband managed rock stations in an early career so I saw & met Paul & Linda when they were touring-Wings I think. Swoon again. Thanks for all the meatless talk, very good stuff, & for the video-fun to see. Happy Birthday Paul-quite a ride!


  3. Ooh, I’ll be eager to hear about that lemon and lime tart. Yum.

    I might have to get this cookbook. We eat mostly meat-free, and it’s good to read this cookbook’s not pretentious or full of rare, hard-to-find items (which is the most frustrating when you want to try a recipe).


    1. Yes, that’s probably the most important criteria for me when it comes to cookbooks — are most of the ingredients either staple items in your kitchen or easy to find in a regular grocery store? And with the American edition, all the measurements are in cups and spoons instead of grams :).

      I love lemon desserts!


  4. Happy birthday, Paul!!! You can be my permanent eye candy! *swoon*

    I clicked on the recipe for Pizza Two Ways. It sounds good, but what the heck is “rocket”? (“Serve with a handful of rocket on each…”)


    1. Same here — I think if I could find more easy, doable, delicious veggie recipes I’d go meatfree much more often. Lots more trial and error in my future.


  5. I think I still have my Meet the Beatles album (in mono!). Too fun to watch Paul in the kitchen. Love it.

    We eat veggie about 60% of the time. I’ll have to take a look at the meat-free Monday cookbook.


  6. Thanks for sharing this cookbook – my family isn’t vegetarian, but we do enjoy meat-free dishes on occasion, and I’m always looking for ones that are tasty – and the dishes you showed look scrumptious.


  7. DELICIOUS!!! The Sicilian Cauliflower Pasta looks wonderful and I have a head in my fridge that needs to be used up. I have a tough time cooking veggies in my house because my husband has a lot of allergies but this might give me some new ideas.


  8. I had no idea that Paul McCartney was responsible for Meatless Mondays; you learn something new every day. The coolest thing I have done since I moved to NYC was seeing Paul perform on top of the marquee at the Ed Sullivan Theater for the David Letterman Show a few years ago. He had everyone singing and dancing! It is a fabulous memory.


    1. OMG, I’m so jealous, Diane! I heard about that event, saw videos.

      Paul launched the MFM movement in the UK; Meatless Monday had been ongoing in the U.S. since 2003. It’s great that someone of his stature is promoting this initiative which is being adopted by more and more countries. But of course he’s been an activist in this arena since his days with Linda.


  9. It IS a great idea to go meatless at least once a week – and it’s something I don’t do enough of. This cookbook sounds like a great tool and resource for making the change!


  10. Jama, a lovely way to mark Macca’s birthday. I was lucky enough to see him in the flesh (from a distance) when they came to New Zealand in 1964.

    Have a great week.


  11. I didn’t know the history of meatfree monday! So interesting to read 🙂 Anyway, I will check this ons out 🙂


  12. Belated Happy Birthday Sir Paul! He still looks adorable, doesn’t he? I agree with you that his boy-next-door charm would never age. We just watched Beatles Love! – the cirque de soleil show here in Las Vegas, and we were simply astounded. Imagine the music of the Beatles inspiring such creativity, artwork, unparalleled performance – totally nothing like it. We were literally blown away! I am intrigued that he has published a cookbook that speaks about his advocacy! How ingenious. I hope that I find it in our libraries back home in Singapore. 🙂


    1. Oh, I’m so jealous you saw the Beatles Love show! I’ve only seen one cirque de soleil performance before and they were amazing. I can’t imagine how totally cool it would be to have a show with all Beatles music. Lucky you!


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