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:
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.
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:
- Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cream Pie
- “Blackbird” and a couple of Paul’s poems on a Poetry Friday
- “When I’m Sixty-Four,” Paul and his father Jim
- “For No One,” Paul and Jane Asher
- Looking for Paul on his 67th birthday
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.