Way back in the depths of time (1984 to be exact), I was handed a pamphlet from an anti-meat organization. On the front of that pamphlet, was a picture of a cow about to be shot in a slaughterhouse. Up until that point, I didn’t know what a vegetarian was, didn’t even know such things existed, but I knew that I could not be a part of any industry that caused the look of pain and horror I saw in that picture. The big question was what did I do next? I knew I didn’t want to eat meat, which went down like a lead balloon with my parents, but what could I eat? As it turned out, a lot of sides and potatoes for a few years, and desperately trying to find something in the local stores besides vegetables, bread and cheese.
I didn't find it easy being a new vegetarian. I knew no-one else who felt the same way, I was up against a lot of pressure from friends and family to eat meat again, and all I wanted to do was live a quiet, meat-free existence.
I wish that 26 years ago I had found a book like ‘Say No to Meat’ (Book Publishing Company). Written by Amanda Strombom and Stewart Rose of the Vegetarians of Washington, it literally covers everything you need to know for your journey into vegetarianism, and even had a few surprises for an old die-hard like myself.
From explaining what a vegetarian is, and how it differs from veganism and others forms of abstaining, the reasons for eating a plant strong diet, what to buy in your local store, even how to deal with the myriad of questions from your loved ones, it really does cover all the bases. This book is perfect for someone who is thinking about changing the way they eat, or who has just started. It has a wealth of information throughout the book, written in a FAQ style, and it finishes with a fantastic resource section directing the reader to informational and recipe websites, and other books to widen their knowledge of the veg lifestyle.
And there are recipes too! In the interests of journalism I felt it necessary to try a couple of them on my family this weekend. So on Sunday we had the “I’m hungry” Hot Pot (p. 145) followed by the Creamy Choc Dream Pudding (p. 161). I know, I’m a giver right? They went down a storm, and even my veg-curious-but-still-meat-eating-MIL couldn’t resist the wonderful aroma my kitchen was wafting under her nose and asked to try some of both!
Would I recommend this book to anyone else? Put it this way - if Santa answers my Christmas list, I will be the proud owner of a time machine on December 25th. I’m not fussy about which one I get, a T.A.R.D.I.S. or a DeLorean, but I guarantee the first journey I make is to 1980’s England so I can take this wonderful book and give it to my confused, teenage self and save her a lot of angst!
*A copy of "Say No to Meat" was provided by Book Publishing Co.