Like many meat-eaters Kim O’Donnel used to have a rocky relationship with soy-staples, tofu and tempeh. Starting this Monday, she encourages all of us to give T&T a try with a week of culinary advice and recipes from acclaimed authors.
Interviewed by Kerry Truman
You occasionally eat meat but prefer to promote a plant-based diet. Has meat always taken a back seat in your kitchen?
Hardly! Despite my family’s history of heart disease and my culinary training, it took many years. When I realized we didn’t have to break up completely, a plant-heavy diet suddenly felt do-able.
Next week marks the launch of your “T & T Challenge”, aimed at seducing those who have resisted the subtle charms of tofu and tempeh. What is it about these Asian staples that strikes fear in the hearts of us Westerners?
With tofu, it’s a texture thing , plus it’s not immediately obvious to us what to do with it. As for tempeh, many Americans don’t even know about it. Thing is, tempeh has a toothsome texture that really appeals to meat eaters. And when marinated, both tempeh and tofu can knock your socks off.
Are we forgetting that reducing meat consumption is one of the best things you can do for your health?
Four the of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. — heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke — are linked to diet. But if we made some adjustments, including a little less meat and a little more veg, fruit and whole grain, I reckon we’d see some change.
What do you say to all the folks who rely on processed convenience foods because they feel they can’t take the time to make a wholesome meal from scratch?
We’ve forgotten that cooking with our own hands is a life-affirming activity to be celebrated. Cooking, even for 30 minutes, forces us to slow down and focus on the connection between food, body and soul.
I’m eagerly awaiting the publication this fall of your Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook. Can you give us a sneak preview of what we can look forward to?
I wrote “The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook’ for fellow meat lovers who are curious about making some changes. The book is a collection of 52 menus — one for every week of the year — in keeping with the Meatless Monday approach. Make no mistake; meatless doesn’t mean less delicious! Book will be in stores September 14.