Table Talk: April 30

Meatless eating, cooking, and shopping

By
April 23, 2009

This week’s chat was devoted to meatless eating, cooking, and shopping.

Add a comment on this page to enter to win a copy of Helen Chen’s book, Easy Chinese Stir-Fries. We will draw a winner on Friday, May 1, 2009 at noon (PT). (No need to enter your email in the comment itself.)

Also, see Kim O’Donnel’s adaptation of a Helen Chen recipe in this week’s Meatless Monday post on her Washington Post blog, A Mighty Appetite.

Table Talk with Kim O'Donnel - April 30, 2009(04/30/2009) 
9:41
Kim ODonnel:  Good beautiful morning from Seattlel! We'll get started in 19 minutes. I'm off to get some coffee.
9:42[Standby]  Back in a flash!
9:56
Kim ODonnel:  Those of you who follow my work on washingtonpost.com may know I hosted a monthly meatless chat there for eight years, and last fall launched a Meatless Monday column in my blog, A Mighty Appetite. In fact, this week's meatless ditty is all about those green beans that you learned to love at your neighborhood Chinese restaurant. Speaking of meatless once a week, it's the very topic of a book I'm trying to sell, Licking Your Chops: A Meat-Less Guide for Meat Lovers, encouraging die-hard meat eaters to take a break from meat once a week for both their health and the planet. Since this is our first go together on the meatless theme, I'd love to hear what you'd like to know more of, what inspires you, frightens or confuses when it comes to dinner without meat. Talk to me and let's get this party started!
10:00
Kim C.:  Kim, I'm glad you mentioned your green beans from Monday's blog, which were adapted from Helen Chen's book, "Easy Chinese Stir Fries." In fact, we've teamed up with Wiley, and will be giving away two copies of that book today.

If you want a chance to win, leave a comment below this chat, by Friday, May 1, noon PT. We'll pick two winners then. IMPORTANT: Do not leave a comment IN the chat, but BELOW the chat. Thanks all!
10:00
[Comment From Trista Cornelius ]
I read an article by Mark Bittman where he says getting Americans to eat less meat is a psychological and political challenge. He's right, but why is that? Why does "less meat" seem so threatening or negative to some? One friend suggested to me that a meated dinner is a sign of success in life. Is that it?
10:02
Kim ODonnel:  Interesting question, Trista. IN the course of writing my book proposal, I discovered just how deeply entrenched meat is in our culture, it's what's for dinner, it's what satisfies. I grew up eating meat for lunch and dinner every day, and I know folks who are still eating meat 3x a day. Can anyone relate?
10:04
Kim ODonnel:  Yet there are cultures around the world where meat is considered a once-in-a-while luxury. I was in Zambia about 4 years ago staying w/ a family of 10. I made dinner one night, with ground meat, spinach and eggs, proud that it cost *so little* $5 -- for such a large group. The man of the house later told me that was too costly for them as a regular dish.
10:04
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
The reason that I gave up eating meat was because my mother served it every night at dinner and I just got sick of eating it. And once I figured out what it is/was, I really didn't want to eat it.
10:06
Kim ODonnel:  Jill, I think you touch on something very important -- dietary diversity. We get so stuck in our ways, we'll eat the same thing week after week, year after year, and don't know how to get out of the rut!
10:06
[Comment From Thia ]
I gave up meat the minute I left home at age 17. We were a meat and potatoes family and much of the meat was what my father had shot. I didn't like it and when I could stop, I did.
10:06
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
The cost of meat here is not enough to cover the environmental, health and other costs of raising and eating meat. yes, I am biased but I am also a Registered Dietitian so have some knowledge.
10:07
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
And yes, there is much more diversity in plant-based diet, or incorporating more meatless meals. I love your book idea.
10:07
Kim C.:  I admit, I feel better when I eat a little meat than when I don't eat any at all. That said, at our house we have one vegetarian, so we don't eat much meat (because I don't want to cook more than one meal!).
10:08
Kim ODonnel:  Kim C, I'm kind of with you. I like a little meat, but not much. I find more and more my tolerance for meat is diminishing.
10:08
[Comment From Thia ]
When I stopped eating it, my family, particularly my mother, was convinced that I'd starve. Where will you get your protein? What will you eat? Now, 38 years later, she tells me regularly that she doesn't eat much meat anymore. It seems a lot of people even seem to apologize for still eating it.
10:09
[Comment From Trista Cornelius ]
Similar to the Zambia family, my friend is from what she describes as a "poor country," so in the US, having meat for meals was kind of a status symbol. I think some of my friends feel like a meal without meat is a compromise, not a real meal. Maybe the issue is reeally the status of vegetables--they're not portrayed as cool and tough and satisfying like beef.
10:10
Kim C.:  

Have others discovered whole grain salads? The other night I cooked a pot of barley (not pearled). When it was soft, I added bits of red bell pepper, kalamata olives, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. It was so satisfying!

10:11
Kim ODonnel:  My mother lives with a man I refer to as "Mister Sausage" in the intro of my book, as he continues to eat meat every day despite three coronary events, the most recent very serious. And I agree, Trista, people perceive it as compromise when eating veg or grains/legumes for supper. It's going to take a long time to create perception change.
10:12
[Comment From Thia ]
We used to eat a lot of wheat berry salads, but now if it's a grain salad, mostly it will be rice or couscous.
10:13
Kim ODonnel:  I'm playing with kamut right now and hope to share the results of my experiments soon. There's a small producer in Calif. trying to distribute it nationally, fingers crossed. It's terrific stuff!
10:13
[Comment From Julie in Boulder ]
We started having at least 1 meatless dinner every week about a year or so ago. We really don't miss having meat but I do sometimes find it challenging to come up with new recipes that don't include pasta or rice.
10:14
Kim ODonnel:  Julie, I hope you're checking out my meatless feature on Mondays!
10:14
[Comment From Trista Cornelius ]
That's crazy about the whole grain salads...I'm soaking wheat berries this very minute to make a wheat berry, quinoa, and curry dressing salad!
10:14
[Comment From Thia ]
What's wrong with rice of pasta? They are staples is lots of vegetarian households. Throw in some beans, and what could be better?
10:15
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
There's a lot that you can do with kamut, quinoa, spelt. farro and barley to satisfy, along with all the heirloom beans. they are filling and delicious.
10:16
Kim C.:  

Folks love the ideas in the rice-and-beans story on Culinate.

10:16
Kim ODonnel:  I agree, Jill. Again, back to that theme of dietary diversity! If we all expanded our horizons just once a week, imagine what could happen to our cooking lives...
10:17
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
You can get all kinds of whole grain rice from around the world that's worth eating. Check out Lotus Foods or Alter Eco for them. Red, black, green, purple.
10:17
[Comment From Julie in Boulder ]
Kim, I do read Meatless Mondays and have taken inspiration from your blogs. We love barley. Next on my list is quinoa. We try not to eat too much white rice or pasta because of their carb content. I'd rather get my carbs from whole grains and veggies and beans.
10:18
Kim ODonnel:  Julie, quinoa cooks like rice -- it's that easy! You can eat it hot or cold and it truly acts like a blank slate, meaning you can flavor any which way you like.
10:18
Kim C.:  Oops. Let's try that again.
10:18
[Comment From Heather in DC ]
Kim, I was cleaning out my fridge last week and came across a container of kimchi well past its expiration date. I was surprised it even had an expiration date - does kimchi actually go bad? It smelled normal to me but I pitched it anyway.
10:20
Kim ODonnel:  Heather, funny you mention expiration dates -- I just wrote about this fun new site called StillTasty, which has this whiz-bang database of the shelf life of all perishables. I've never seen such a one-stop shop for all those food storage issues.
10:20
[Comment From Jenny in Baltimore ]
I make barley instead of rice, the texture is a little different and a nice change. Lately I've been experimenting with lentils, I made a stew with lentils as the primary ingredient, carrots, onions, and some beef cubes that are more of a flavoring.
10:20
[Comment From Trista Cornelius ]
I just realized that the friends who really resist letting go of meat are also people who do NOT like variety in their meals and are not at all interested in experimenting with new foods. I hadn't seen that connection until this chat. I wonder if their issue is more about fearing new foods and new meals than meatlessness.
10:21
Kim ODonnel:  I have a friend in DC who thinks he just won't be satisfied unless he has meat on his plate. Will not even consider another option, even fish. The old idea that meatless must be 'rabbit' food.
10:23
Kim ODonnel:  Jenny, I could eat lentils almost every day! And they're so darn easy. Here's a piece I wrote a while back: Showing Lentils Some Love
10:24
[Comment From sarah gilbert ]
I *love* meat, but in order to afford to eat it ethically (with a family of four boyfolk plus me) I've had to really cut back. we eat a lot of bacon ends, lard, and an occasional roast. when I buy sausage, it's chopped up and added to beans or lentils or brown rice.
10:24
Kim ODonnel:  Hey Sarah, I hear you! Still having the meat but using it as a side or as a flavoring agent is a great way to have your meat and pennies, too.
10:25
[Comment From tea_austen ]
I think a lot of people are just used to animal protein being a big part of their dinner plate. I was raised vegetarian, so I have the opposite problem, but a friend of mine had back surgery a few years ago and we all took turns bringing dinner for her family. The first time I did it her husband was disappointed the meal didn't have any meat. Didn't seem to matter that it was tasty/filling. It wasn't what he was expecting.
10:27
Kim ODonnel:  Tea, great point. This is one of the reasons I've been advocating this idea of once/week, no meat. For diehards, you could start with something common, like a bowl of pasta w/ marinara sauce,totally delicious and filling, but w/o a drop of meat. I've noticed since we started a meatless dinner in my house that we are now doing it two, three times a week, because it's so delicious. Last night, tacos with mashed sweet potates, peppers and onions!
10:27
[Comment From Jenny in Baltimore ]
It's the fear. I spent most of my twenties trying to raise my family's culinary consciousness with new and different (read experimental) recipes. If it wasn't readily recognizeable or had an exotic name it was instant poison! I feel sorry for my own kids (when I have them), they're going to be exposed to all kinds of cuisines!
10:27
[Comment From Thia ]
Trisa, I think that has a lot to do with it. For many people I know, potatoes were pretty much the only vegetable to which they had been exposed.
10:28
[Comment From Thia ]
So many years when I first discovered quinoa, I was intimidated by the fact that you had to rinse it forever to get rid of the saponins. I never knew if I evern got them rinsed enough. Finally, I just stopped making quinoa. Might have to try again.
10:28
Kim ODonnel:  Thia, many of the brands now come pre-rinsed. I still rinse mine once or twice. yes, do try again!
10:29
[Comment From Heather in DC ]
After checking StillTasty, I note it doesn't have kimchi but it does have sauerkraut, which keeps for six months. Any problem with using that as a guide?
10:29
Kim ODonnel:  Heather, I think sauerkraut is pretty darn close, and I bet if you e-mail them (it's a mother and daughter team), you'll get a reply.
10:29
[Comment From Julie in Boulder ]
My latest kick has been madras lentils from Costco. I'm also going to try a sweet potato & lentil dish this weekend - the recipe is from Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP newsletter. Liz Kelly from the WaPo recently made it (she's a vegan) and said it was delicious.
10:30
Kim C.:  

Kim, do you know much about umami? I know it's an important component of taste — gives food that satisfying element. Does it have anything to do with meat? I'm thinking of Sarah's comment …

10:30
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
It's always a good idea to rinse the quinoa, although more of it is coming into the US very clean. You just never know. Be on the lookout for tricolored quinoa soon. Black, regular, red together.
10:30
Kim ODonnel:  Julie -- yes, LIz told me she loved that dish!
10:30
[Comment From Jenny in Baltimore ]
Kim O'D, your article, Showing Lentils Some Love, is what inspired me to experiment with them!
10:31
Kim ODonnel:  YAY!
10:31
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
I keep hoping that the economic climate will get people to rethink their plate and what's on it. You can't go wrong with legumes as the center of the plate. Fiber fills you up. A lot of this is about perception, and attitude change.
10:32
[Comment From Trista Cornelius ]
Well, I guess that's it: poison as Jenny said. I was just reading...forgot his name but Pollan quotes him a bit...that omnivores need both a curiosity about new foods and a fear of new foods, since just about anything is potential food for us. I mean, we could poison ourselves... I have to admit, to try dandelion greens for the first time, I bought them at the grocery store rather than plucking them from my own yard because I just didn't feel right about harvesting voluntary weeds for lunch!
10:32
Kim ODonnel:  Interesting points, Trista! Tea -- didn't you just publish a recipe for dandelion muffins?
10:32
[Comment From tea_austen ]
RE. Kimchi: if I were you I'd taste it. If it tastes "fizzy" at all, then it's gone bad (you'll have an uncontrollable urge to spit it out, trust me). Most fermented things can last quite a long time (def. six months).
10:33
Kim C.:  And by the way, the quinoa recipe that appeared on Tea's blog awhile back is one of our family favorites: avocado, ponzu, nori. Yum, I want lunch just thinking about it.
10:33
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
Meat has umami but so do mushrooms, miso, soy sauce -- all vegetarian.
10:34
Kim ODonnel:  I have become a big fan of tempeh -- and I find that's got the 'umami' mouthfeel and flavor. It shows up on the menu here every 2 weeks or so. Love the stuff.
10:34
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
I love to eat weeds for lunch, dinner and other times of day. At least i know where they've been -- dandelion, purslane, all the really nutritious ones. OOOH, that quinoa from Tea sounds so great.
10:34
[Comment From Thia ]
Last night for dinner, we had Mark Bittman's edamame salad mixed with pasta. It was a little missing in some taste element, but overall it was filling and satisfying. Maybe it needed more salt.
10:35
[Comment From tea_austen ]
Yes, the dandelion post is here: http://tinyurl.com/dxxplc. But I admit, I felt a little strange eating yard weeds too. We have these ingrained ideas about what is "safe" and 'unsafe" when it comes to food.
10:35
[Comment From catsluvr ]
Oh my goodness, people still eat lard? I thought this was really bad for cholesterol - am I wrong?
10:36
Kim ODonnel:  RE: lard: I'd say if you're getting it from a source you know and it hasn't been highly processed, you're not doing yourself an extra disservice. Nina Planck is a big advocate of lard. I'd much rather use it than hydrogenated shortening in a tub.
10:36
[Comment From Thia ]
Tempeh is a staple in our house. This is a favorite: http://www.recipezaar.com/North-Carolina-Style-Tempeh-Barbecue-112444
10:37
[Comment From Jess ]
I just discovered quinoa and can't stop making it now. I've eaten it almost every day for two weeks. Bought red quinoa in bulk at the food co-op and let it soak in water for a few minutes then rinsed twice and it was fine. Such a great texture.
10:38
Kim C.:  I can recommend this pasta dish that we had for dinner last night: spaghetti with mascarpone, lemons, hazelnuts, spinach. It was a hit!
10:39
Kim ODonnel:  Thanks Jess. Isn't it amazing whe you discover something new and can't get enough of it? What kinds of fun things are you doing with your new toy?
10:39
[Comment From tea_austen ]
Someone was mentioning umami and I've become the biggest fan of caramelized onions. If you really cook them until their brown/black, they add so much flavor (and cheaply too). I am always amazed at how good they make things. Try mujadara (good recipe on Orangette.net), which is lentils, rice and onions.
10:39
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
You can check out my blog post about Mark Scarborough and tempeh. I also love tempeh and it's better for you than tofu. http://theveggiequeen.blogspot.com/2009/01/tempeh-dont-serve-without-warning.html
10:39
Kim ODonnel:  Jill -- tempeh is better for you than tofu b/c it's fermented and easier to digest, right?
10:40
[Comment From tea_austen ]
Whoops, hit reply too soon. My version of caramelized onions is here: http://tinyurl.com/aj9hrw. I almost always have a bowl of these around the house now. Add them to lots of things.
10:40
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
A landscaper told me that weeds are "plants out of place" which still means that they are just plants. And if you think of how hearty they are, you will quickly see how they can be packed with nutrition. I mean, dandelions can grow out of the cracks in the sidewalk. What does that say about their vigor?
10:40
[Comment From Trista Cornelius ]
Thank you for the dandelion link. This is perfect because I'm also interested in edible flowers. The dandelion greens I purchased this week are really bitter. I'm eager to try the muffin recipe. Thanks! (Oh, and the author I was reading is Paul Rozin.)
10:40
[Comment From Jess ]
Tried millet but didn't like it at all. Love barley!
10:41
Kim ODonnel:  Jess, I am going to venture into millet territory soon. Will let you know if I come up w/ something tasty.
10:41
[Comment From Jess ]
I love the title of that blog post Tea! Bacon of the vegetarian world. That's often how I think of avocado, which makes everything better. But I can't eat burgers without caramelized onions either.
10:41
[Comment From Thia ]
Speaking of browned onions: http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/burn-those-onions/
10:41
Kim C.:  Jess, we love these millet cookies. Truly.
10:41
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
Tempeh is better because it is femented but it also is a whole food rather than tofu which is processed and doesn't have fiber. I have a millet post that I can send. got rave reviews when I last served it. cooking it right is really important.
10:42
Kim ODonnel:  Since I moved to the west coast, I've been eating avocados with a vengeance. They just taste better on this side of the country. Whatever I was getting back in DC was pleh.
10:43
[Comment From Jess ]
Thanks Kim. That would be great. Incidentally, would you post results from that experiment on Culinate or on your blog, or...?
10:43
Kim ODonnel:  But of course! It's on the to-do list.
10:43
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
Here's milet on my mind -- it is also a blank slate and tasty. http://theveggiequeen.blogspot.com/2008/12/millet-on-my-mind-gluten-free-and-yummy.html
10:43
Kim ODonnel:  Thanks, Jill, great stuff. Lots of inspiration here today.
10:44
[Comment From Thia ]
When living in Manhattan 12 years ago, there was a guy, Wildman Steve Brill, who would take groups on weed walks throughout Central Park.
10:44
Kim ODonnel:  Yes, Brill's book is a fascinating read. One of my guest bloggers recently wrote a piece about foraging for his own ramps -- which cost about $25/ pound at the farm market!
10:45
[Comment From Jess ]
Millet and quinoa recipes would be fabulous. I haven't tried tempeh yet but I recently discovered baking tofu, instead of on the stove. High temp on a silpat - no sticking, gets crispy - will never go back. We have been throwing it in with whatever veggie we cook at night.
10:46
Kim C.:  Here's a piece that was published on Culinate awhile back about foraging for knotweed in Central Park!
10:47
Kim ODonnel:  You must try tempeh! It makes luscious sandwiches. Try this on for size
10:47
[Comment From Trista Cornelius ]
This is a bit off-topic, but I'm madly openning all of these great links, and I have to say with envy: your blogs are so lovely! Tea and Veggie Queen...I'll be your next regular reader. I just started a blogger page and am impressed with how inviting yours both look.
10:47
[Comment From Thia ]
Knotweed is quite tasty when very young. Lemony.
10:47
Kim ODonnel:  I'm a huge fan of purslane. Anyone else wanna join me for a salad?
10:48
[Comment From tea_austen ]
If people are looking for good vegetarian recipes, you might want to check this blog: http://www.cucinanicolina.com/ She does yummy things with veggies and quinoa. Also: http://danatreat.com/
10:48
Kim ODonnel:  I second that emotion, Tea! I'm a big fan of Nicole's work.
10:49
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
If you're making the purslane salad, I'll be there. What are you going to put in it? It has so much natural Omega-3 fatty acid.
10:50
Kim ODonnel:  All Aboard the Purslane Train
this salad has potatoes and lots of lemon, herbs.
10:50
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
This is getting me so excited that I can't wait to get over to the stove and fire it up. Making mushroom non-meatballs today for a mushroom meeting. Another wild edible that one can forage for (if they know what they are doing).
10:50
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
Trista, all it takes is patience, time and persistence. You can do it. Thank you.
10:50
[Comment From Heather in DC ]
Kim, that pasta recipe on thekitchn looks fab. Did you use Meyer lemon or regular, out of curiousity? Not sure I'd find Meyers around here.
10:50
[Comment From Jess ]
I know, I now have like six links open waiting for me to bookmark. Thanks for the tempeh burger recipe. It looks fantastic and the sauce is perfect - no sugar, no gluten, etc. I'm excited to try it.
10:50
[Comment From Thia ]
Chickweed tastes like raw corn. Another good eatin' weed.
10:51
Kim ODonnel:  I've not had chickweed...that's going on the list!
10:51
Kim C.:  Heather, I couldn't find Meyers this late in the season so used a regular lemon. It worked beautifully!
10:51
[Comment From tea_austen ]
And, of course, http://www.101cookbooks.com and Heidi's book, Super Natural Cooking. PS. Trista, thanks. Send me your link!
10:51
Kim ODonnel:  Lots of link exchange luv in the house! Keep it up!
10:52
[Comment From sarah gilbert ]
another wild one that wowed me: the flower clusters from maple trees (around here, big leaf maple). they're sweet and wonderfully flavorful, great on salads or just eaten.
10:52
Kim ODonnel:  Wow, Sarah. How did you know to eat them?
10:53
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
Purslane salad sounds great. But no purslane yet here. I just learned that you can eat cleavers which are around currently -- eat them cooked. What wild stuff today.
10:53
Kim ODonnel:  Tell us what are cleavers?!
10:53
[Comment From tea_austen ]
Just discovered chickweek last week. Tastes like miner's lettuce. Supposed to be very good for you. Langdon Cook, whose dandelion recipe I used, has a recipe for chimichurri with chickweed--sounds yum. http://fat-of-the-land.blogspot.com/
10:53
[Comment From Thia ]
You can also eat the flower clusters of black locust. Make fritters.
10:53
Kim ODonnel:  Whoa! I love it. Get us a recipe, Thia.
10:54
[Comment From Trista Cornelius ]
Another observation about meat-centered vs. veggie-centered eaters...in addition to everyone on this chat being very generous, most everyone has expressed passion for health and nutrition. I wonder if that's another personality trait that opens people to new foods, or at least to veggies. (My blog, very new and rinky-dink, is: http://allbutthekitchensink.blogspot.com/. Any advice for improvement will be much appreciated!)
10:54
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
They are a sticky weed that grows long here in the spring. Don't have a link. A farmer friend told me that he friend cooked and ate it. it is used as a dried herb usually by herbalists.
10:55
[Comment From Thia ]
Kim, I've not made them since leaving New York and don't have a personal recipe, but here's a link: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=black+locust+fritters
10:55
Kim ODonnel:  So cool. Y'all have taught me a bunch of stuff today.
10:56
[Comment From sarah gilbert ]
I went on a "wild food adventure" with a local guy, John Kallas. it turns out that any flower of an edible plant (currant, maple, blueberry, Oregon grape, you name it) is edible. now I eat flowers everywhere.
10:56
Kim ODonnel:  Local, as in PacNW? I want in!
10:57
[Comment From Jess ]
Yes, is it in OR/WA? That sounds fun!
10:57
[Comment From sarah gilbert ]
yep! I'm here in Portland. his site is http://www.wildfoodadventures.com/ -- there are links there to national wild food conferences.
10:57
[Comment From Thia ]
Have to be careful though. Even the fleshy part around a yew berry is edible, but if you swallow the seeds, they can stop your heart.
10:57
Kim C.:  Don't forget to leave a comment at the bottom of this page (not in the body of the chat itself but on Culinate) if you'd like to win Easy Chinese Stir-Fries by Helen Chen.

Oh, and here's a Culinate link about John Kallas
10:57
Kim ODonnel:  That's why going with a guide would be so great.
10:58
Kim ODonnel:  P.S. on that Helen Chen book -- the link earlier in the hour to those Chinese restaurant-style green beans -- comes from her book!
10:58
[Comment From Jess ]
So his wild food adventures teach you what to look for, what's edible, etc? So cool. I'm in Portland too and I think I have to sign up for one of these adventures.
10:59
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
I am waiting for the cat tails to have their heads which are supposed to taste like wild rice. Stalks are edible, too. Lots of edibles as I said before. We just need to learn which ones.
10:59
[Comment From Trista Cornelius ]
This is the fastest hour I've ever experienced. Thanks for this Table Talk. I'm so inspired!!! A pleasure "meeting" all of you!!
10:59
Kim ODonnel:  Trista, We're here each and every Thursday, same time. Hope you'll be back!
10:59
[Comment From Thia ]
I think Native Americans used the pollen of cattails for a flour.
10:59
[Comment From Jill, The Veggie Queen ]
thanks for doing this Kim. It was much more fun than working. Or maybe I was working???
11:00
Kim ODonnel:  Jill, of course you were working!
11:00
[Comment From Jess ]
Thank you also. Such inspiration, great ideas and recipes, and lots of links. Great info!
11:01
[Comment From Amanda Brush ]
More philosophy than cooking today! Being in a CSA is what turned me around because I finally had vegetables which taste like real food. Thank you, Kim, for sending me the link to the recipe for arnabeet.
11:01
[Comment From Heather in DC ]
See you all next week....I'm mostly soaking it in but hope to contribute in the future!
11:01
[Comment From tea_austen ]
Yes, so much fun. Thanks, K & K, and everyone.
11:02
Kim ODonnel:  And thanks to all of you for stopping by. Keep up the good work, and we'll do this again. Next week, we're talking about the state of the seafood, how to balance heath versus sustainability, talk about toxins and other fun stuff about what's lurking in our waters, what we can still eat. Bye for now!
11:03
Kim, And again, leave a comment below to be eligible to win one of two copies from Helen Chen's book, "Easy Chinese Stir Fries" from Wiley books and Culinate.

If you want a chance to win, leave a comment below this chat, by Friday, May 1, noon PT. We'll pick two winners then. Thanks all!
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1. by Julie Raines on Apr 30, 2009 at 10:09 AM PDT

I’d love a copy of the book!

2. by C Ss on Apr 30, 2009 at 10:21 AM PDT

Please put my name in the hat for a copy Helen Chen’s book...and many thanks!

3. by catsluvr on Apr 30, 2009 at 10:26 AM PDT

I would love to make more stir fries and would like a copy of the book. Thank you

4. by Jenny Aus on Apr 30, 2009 at 11:30 AM PDT

Love you, Kim O’D! You help me find the most interesting things to cook!

5. by baltimoregon on Apr 30, 2009 at 2:35 PM PDT

oh the garlicky string beans look delish! I’d love this book:)

6. by CentreofNowhere on Apr 30, 2009 at 2:50 PM PDT

I am salivating at the thought of another O’Donnel title, and would also love a chance to pick up Helen Chen’s! A pre-congratulations to Kim on her hard work!

7. by Lissa on Apr 30, 2009 at 3:41 PM PDT

Looks like a great book! I’d love a copy, so I can learn how to properly use my wok.

8. by redweather on May 1, 2009 at 8:09 AM PDT

Kim, I’ve really enjoyed your blog/chat on WaPo, and looking forward to continuing to follow you here. As a recent covert to veggie life (last November) and a meat lover, I have found it very difficult to find that elusive umami in non-meat foods - mushrooms and miso are fantastic, but how much of them can a person eat? And of course, there are so many dining experiences where a non-meat eater has little to choose from except the occasional veggie-burger or the veggie fajitas....

As to Trista’s question about why getting Americans to eat less meat is a political and psychological challenge - I don’t have the answer, but upon giving meat up (and missing it immensely) I noticed that meat is EVERYWHERE. It’s an ingredient in everything, even things that we don’t perceive as “meat” dishes. It’s advertised everywhere, relentlessly, as the American dinner - bold, nutritious, filling, savory, etc. Has anyone ever seen an ad for a chain restaurant that featuring tofu? Or even a vegetarian appetizer? I assume there is a pork lobby and a chicken lobby, and certainly a beef lobby, but I never thought about it much until I gave up meat and found that the MSM seems to desperately want me to eat meat again!

I also think that the percieved militancy (whether true or not) of the veggie/vegan faction has created a backlash among meat-eaters. They feel like they need to defend their lifestyle choices, even when they are not being “accused” of anything. I often find that if I don’t order meat in a group outing, someone will ask me if I’m veggie. When I say yes, the immediate response is “I could never do that” or some form of “You shouldn’t be a vegetarian for health/animal rights/environmental/etc. reasons because....” or a defensive “I’m fine with eating meat because.” They seem to be worried that I’m going to read them the veggie manifesto and shanghai them into a meat-free existance.... :)

I would love see you dig deeper into this phenomenon in your chats/blog, because I think it’s truly fascinating, and I believe meat-eating will become INCREASINGLY politicized in this country.

9. by redweather on May 1, 2009 at 8:13 AM PDT

PS - I recently discovered the faux General Tso’s Chicken in the Whole Foods prepared food section.... it has saved my life! It is so much like real chicken that I keep checking with them behind the counter to make SURE that it isn’t! Can you do a column sometime (and I would especially love some recipies) on mock meat? Cheers!

10. by Kim O'Donnel on May 1, 2009 at 9:13 AM PDT

I love all these very thoughtful comments. Happy to check in regularly inbetween chats and continue the conversation here. Let me know what y’all think!

11. by ruth_117 on May 1, 2009 at 12:53 PM PDT

My family are big meat eaters (and also raise beef) so it is difficult to get them to eat veggie. I took a veggie lasagna to a supper one time and my sister brought a meat one. When we were all getting ready to eat, it was announced in a loud voice that the meat one was on that side and the veggie one on the other. Some of the comments were that it was good that someone told them because you couldn’t tell just by looking at it that it was vegetarian. Like if they had accidentaly eaten it the vegetarian version it would have been a sin or something.

Anyway I love stir fry and would love to win a copy of the book, thanks for offering it!

12. by ruth_117 on May 1, 2009 at 12:53 PM PDT

My family are big meat eaters (and also raise beef) so it is difficult to get them to eat veggie. I took a veggie lasagna to a supper one time and my sister brought a meat one. When we were all getting ready to eat, it was announced in a loud voice that the meat one was on that side and the veggie one on the other. Some of the comments were that it was good that someone told them because you couldn’t tell just by looking at it that it was vegetarian. Like if they had accidentaly eaten it the vegetarian version it would have been a sin or something.

Anyway I love stir fry and would love to win a copy of the book, thanks for offering it!

13. by CentreofNowhere on May 1, 2009 at 3:52 PM PDT

Wow ruth_117, that’s kindof strange. I mean, if your lasagna just omitted the meat, why was it “veggie” (and why did the label even matter?!). FWIW, my extended family is like that too. Usually I DO omit the ground beef or turkey in our lasagnas because it’s less expensive and it more or less TASTES THE SAME. :) Hang in there!

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Table Talk

Kim O’Donnel is a trained chef, nationally recognized online food personality, and a longtime journalist. She is the author of a new cookbook, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook.

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