"The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian" by Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RD
c.2014, Sourcebooks $12.99 / $14.99 Canada 240 pages
That sound you heard a few minutes ago? That’s your stomach, rumbling.
Yep, you’re hungry. Ready for chow. Wanting something salty, sweet, crunchy (sound good?) smooth, chewy, tasty. For sure, you know what you don’t want – but you’re not sure if your parents will play along. So read "The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian" by Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RD, and find out how you can fill your plate with nutrition that fills you up.
Okay. You’ve decided that you don’t want to eat meat anymore. You’ve undoubtedly got your reasons; for Warren , it was because she couldn’t stop thinking about where meat comes from.
Whatever your convictions for going vegetarian, you want to know how to do it right but giving up meat doesn’t mean, um, going cold turkey. You can be "veg-curious," just dipping your toe into the lifestyle. You can be a "Red Head" who wants to start eating more veggies and less meat; a "Pescetarian" who eats fish, a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian who eats dairy and eggs, or a vegan who avoids all animal products. You could also be an "ethical carnivore." The thing to remember is that you’re allowed to change your mind. Daily, if you want.
You’ve probably already figured out that your new mealtime habits will be questioned. Your parents might worry about how you’ll get proper nutrition, vitamins, and minerals. Your friends might think it’s weird. You’ll have to explain to your grandma a hundred times why you can’t eat her famous chili again.
But that’s where this book helps: protein (probably the number-one topic of concern), minerals, and vitamins are already in vegetables; you just have to know the right combinations. You’ll also need to know how to read nutrition labels, because meat products often sneak into other foods. And to prove that vegetarianism isn’t weird or to show that yummy chili doesn’t require meat, why not try some mouth-watering, crowd-pleasing vegetarian recipes? Some of them are found at the end of this book.
Above all, Warren says, stick with your ideals but "be polite." Know what you’re eating, know where it comes from, and do your research. And be proud of what you’re doing. It’s good for the environment – and good for you!
Looking for a basic intro to eliminating meat from your diet? You’ll find it in "The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian," but there’s a lot of repetition to slog through to get it.
That’s not to say that I didn’t like this book – because I did. It’s got humor, nutritional information, tips, and encouragement inside it, as well as argument-busters and a good section on eating disorders. It’s also got a huge section of recipes but the nitty-gritty of this book, the solid info, is too brief - especially when you consider the reiteration.
Still, if it’s basic you want, basic is what your 11-to-16-year-old reader will get here. If she wants to make a change, "The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian" is a book she might be hungry for.
"Growing a Feast: The Chronicle of a Farm-to-Table Meal" by Kurt Timmermeister
c.2014, W.W. Norton $24.95 / $26.50 Canada 311 pages
Tonight, you’re bringing home the bacon.
You got it at the grocery store on the way home from work: neat little strips adhered to a rectangle of cardboard, wrapped in plastic. Some bread, a hothouse tomato, a head of lettuce, and you’re set.
So where does your food come from? Go ahead. Point to the grocery store, then read "Growing a Feast" by Kurt Timmermeister, and follow along with one scrumptious meal…
On a Sunday evening not long ago, Kurt Timmermeister decided to have a dinner party for friends. Years before, he’d run a restaurant on his island farm near Seattle , but since he’d closed his French doors to diners, he realized that he missed cooking for a crowd. It would take a lot of preparation – and yet, dinner that night, with its formidable menu, started some two years prior with the birth of a calf.
When a heifer is born on a farm, it’s cause for celebration. Heifers grow up to be cows that give milk to make cheese, the main income for Kurtwood Farms. So when Alice (the name given to the calf) was born to a Jersey cow named Dinah, Timmermeister was pleased.
Alice was born in later fall, which is usually a quieter time on the farm. Still, there are things to do: as winter replaces fall and spring creeps in, Timmermeister and his hired men tend livestock, and they begin to prepare for the garden by mixing compost with soil and planting seeds in a ramshackle greenhouse. Fruits, vegetables, and meat needed for his dishes are mostly grown on the farm, although Timmermeister sheepishly admits to bartering for some of his seedlings.
As summer eases into fall, and then another year passes, Alice matures enough to birth calves of her own. Other livestock have come and gone, Timmermeister made and stored dozens of cheeses in the interim, canned and processed vegetables, and he harvested honey. He also butchered a steer for meat.
And on a Sunday afternoon not long ago, final preparations for a lavish meal began…
If it’s possible to fall deeply in love with words, I believe I have done so with author Kurt Timmermeister’s.
Despite descriptions of hard physical work and chores he’d rather not be doing, there’s a sure lushness to "Growing a Feast." Timmermeister shares his gentle life: getting to know his cows, nurturing his formidable garden; and dreaming of the meals that will come from his current efforts.
But the bucolic pages of Timmermeister’s book belie the loss, worry, hard decisions, death and necessary destruction that come on a farm. We get mere peeks at the difficult things about agriculture-based life that may shock city readers, but of which farmers are all too familiar.
And yet – you have to love a book that makes you want to wiggle your bare toes in the grass, eat sumptuously, or try a new, challenging recipe. I sure did - and if you’re a gardener, farmer, or cook, "Growing a Feast" is a book you’ll want to bring home, too.
(The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.)