Recently Diana Rice, Registered Dietitian at Meatless Monday, spoke with Mark Bittman about his newest ventures and eating meatless once a week. Bittman, the renowned mover and shaker in the world of food, shocked the culinary world when he announced his intention to leave his columnist role at the New York Times to join a start up called Purple Carrot.
Purple Carrot offers a variety of plans that make cooking completely meatless meals easily and conveniently as many times a week as you like. Each shipment contains everything you’d need to make vegan meals with fresh, responsibly-sourced ingredients. At Meatless Monday we love the idea of making it easier to eat less meat each week, so we were delighted to talk with Bittman in a little more detail about his work with Purple Carrot helping people enjoy the flexibility of healthy eating.
Below we’ve included an excerpt from the interview, read the full version on The Huffington Post:
Meatless Monday has been encouraging the public to skip meat one day a week for over a decade. You’re a big advocate of partial veganism, first with VB6 and now at Purple Carrot. Why do you think encouraging people to go meatless some, but not all of the time, will result in more lasting change?
Among us, no one believes that the smart thing to do is to convince Americans to become vegan or even vegetarians. We both think that people should eat more plant-based meals and we both think that it would be unreasonable to demand or encourage people to give up meat entirely. We don’t really know what the perfect recommendations would be around these kinds of things but we do know that for both environment and public health reasons, it would be better if all of us ate less meat and this is a strategy.
Do you think people need a push to eat less meat, such as a reminder that it’s Meatless Monday or a Purple Carrot box showing up on their doorstep?
Well if you sign up for Purple Carrot, it’s a bit more of a stick than Meatless Monday because the box is going to show up, so once it shows up presumably you’re not going to throw it out, you’re going to actually do it. So if we say you’re getting two or three Purple Carrot meals a week and people sign up for that it’s a pretty safe bet they’re actually going to cook two or three Purple Carrot meals a week.
Why work with a service that sends people ingredients to cook a meal from scratch? Wouldn’t you get more people to eat meatless meals if you did some of the work for them and sent frozen or otherwise ready-prepared meals?
Two reasons. The first is I want to encourage people to cook and this eliminates two or three excuses people have for not cooking. One, there’s no shopping, two, there’s no figuring out the recipe and three I guess there’s no waste, we are pre-measuring ingredients effectively. And the second answer is that I think that cooking means cooking. I’m not against freezing food, but there’s definitely a loss in quality when you take something, cook it then freeze it and then defrost it and eat it. It may not be a loss of nutrition and it may not be a safety factor, but there is nothing like a freshly cooked meal, obviously.
So what happens when people gain so many cooking skills in making your meals that they decide to go to the grocery store themselves and cook your recipes? Is that going to put you out of business?
Nothing would make me happier.