It’s 6 o’clock sharp. On my dinner table sits a large steaming bowl of little ear pasta, called orecchiette. I inhale the warm pasta and spicy tomato sauce spiked with portabella mushrooms, basil and hot chilies. Plump chunks of zucchini and sweet onion peek out from the sauce, which collects in small puddles inside the concave pasta.
No, I’m not sitting in my favorite restaurant. It is Monday at my home, Meatless Monday to be precise. The trend to cut back on meat once weekly and reduce our intake about 15% was originally launched in partnership with the Johns Hopkins School for Public Health in 2003. Since the inception, this program has grown immensely. We are apparently voting with our forks.
If we can potentially reduce our cardiovascular risk and maintain our desired body weight, than it’s our personal value added bonus. This movement is larger than simply home cooks buying more produce. Meatless Mondays encompasses much more. Inspired food service companies, universities, global food manufacturers, famous chefs, bloggers, rock stars and cookbook authors have all helped to make this program a huge success.
The truth of the matter is, cooking seasonal produce is simple and relies on the quality of the ingredients to speak for themselves. With a bit of information and a well stocked pantry, meatless dinners are uncomplicated, rely on fresh ingredients and are full of distinct flavors.
Often inspired by seasons and availability, your local produce market will dictate your family dinner menu. Ready, set, dice!
—By Steven Petusevsky