The Meatless Monday phenomenon is beautifully covered in this week's Time Magazine, in an article by Joel Stein (page 51) headed, "Where's the Beet? The big name chefs are shrinking their customer's carnivore quota."
Unfortunately only this opening paragraph is available free on line:
"It's weird how hard you have to try to not eat a lot of meat. Your French toast comes with a side of bacon; chicken is dumped on your salad; protein is the first dinner item you consider when shopping and the only one when pairing wine. Raising, slaughtering and butchering animals might be a lot of work, but eating meat is supereasy these days. According to one academic's crunching of U.S. Department of Agriculture data, the average American over a lifetime consumes 21,000 animals many, I presume, kind of by accident."
That paragraph can be found on line at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2010187,00.html
If you have an iPad you can download the Time iPad app at that link to read the article.
The article tells us that many top chefs are attempting to reduce that number by "reducing the role of protein to what it had been before it got so damn cheap."
"The reason Andres, Puck and others are moving animal protein away from the center of the plate isn't just that doing so benefits our health and the environment (meat production creates a lot of greenhouse gases); it's also that a big hunk of meat can be boring to cook -- and boring to eat."
We read that chefs such as Andres want to help the American palate grow up.
I love this article because it presents meatless eating not as something good for you but dull, but as an escape from the usual dull American diet. And while I know that many people on this list would understandably rather be reading about Meatless Everydays than Meatless Mondays, we shouldn't underestimate the potential impact of this campaign, of getting the top chefs to acknowledge that less meat, or no meat, is preferable to lots. That potential incremental impact is exhibited in the line:
"All 15 of Batali's restaurants serve extra vegetarian options on Meatless Monday, an offshoot of the partial vegetarian movement that is spreading across the country; he's also getting read to open a small vegetarian restaurant in New York City."
From vegetarian options to a vegetarian restaurant. Nice.
I found the article, which discusses the efforts of six different well known chefs, just delightful to read so I recommend picking up a copy of Time.
There is a companion article of sorts, on the next page (page 53) headed, "Weekday Vegetarians." It is by Dan Fastenberg. It opens with the words of an environmentalist who is "a self-described 'weekday vegetarian,' a compromise that came about after years of trying--and failing--to adhere to a strictly vegetarian diet."
It is particularly interesting as a companion article because one reason people say they find it difficult to adhere to plant based diets is that there can be few choices when dining out. So as more restaurants add veggie options, on Mondays and other days, as described in the "Where's the Beet?" article, we might see less people who find vegetarian diets so difficult to stick to full time, as described in the part-time vegetarian article. That's why supporting the veggie options at mainstream restaurants can be a fun form of activism. If they sell, more will appear on the menu.
The Weekday Vegetarian article is on line at:
Both of the articles present a great opportunity for letters to the editor on the health, environmental and ethical advantages of plant based eating. Animal cruelty was not featured in either article but we have an opportunity to give the animals a voice in our letters to the editor. Let's take that opportunity.
Time Magazine takes letters at email@example.com
Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Remember that shorter letters are more likely to be published.
Yours and the animals',
(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts only if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line.)
Please go to http://tinyurl.com/254ulkx to check out Karen Dawn's book, "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals," which was chosen last year by the Washington Post as one of the "Best Books of The Year!"
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Date: Thu Aug 19 18:09:08 2010