Rediscovering Ms. Jane Brody

Two weeks ago, my daughter declared she would be a vegetarian. She has always loved animals and she also has a passion for good food. She found “Don’t Eat This Book” by Morgan Spurlock on my shelf several years ago and became so obsessed with it, we finally had to hide it. In a way, I guess it was inevitable, but it was brought about by watching an Upton Sinclair video at school. Apparently watching how they made meat back in the day was simply too much to bear. It didn’t help that the very next day NPR decided to air a story about not being able to photograph chicken farms.

We did manage to convince her to go pescatarian. And so if she would go pescatarian, I would too. I’m so close to it anyway and it seemed like a good way to make sure she was getting all the nutrients she needed.

Her father was extremely unhappy about this news. I love him, but there are times I feel we are eating incompatible. While we do share a love of good food, I prefer sweet … and he prefers savory. Especially meat savory. The thought of no more coq au vin or meatloaf … well … he was very worried.

And so he was very concerned about Easter dinner. Ham was certainly not on the list. A roast chicken was out, as he refused to eat it all by himself. (“But you could freeze it!” I said. “No, I don’t want to do that,” he replied.)

So, armed with our new books (“The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone and “You Are What You Eat” by Gillian McKeith), we looked for some ideas. In the end, I went with an old friend: “Good Food Book” by Jane Brody. This is really old too. I bought this book in 1987, one of my first cookbooks I ever bought. I think I actually just read more than I actually made, and when I did, I usually did it wrong. In fact, I was marveling how quickly I was able to chop veggies this time than the last time I made this entree, 20 years ago. There are some GREAT vegetarian options in this book and I think I’ll be opening it up a lot in the future.

So, here’s what I made tonight, and my husband grilled a lamb chop, which he and the cats loved. Oh, and the kid ate two servings too! The rest is for dinner tomorrow. Husband was VERY skeptical and kept telling me that it wasn’t properly Irish. Once he got past the lack of lamb or Worstershire sauce or the fact that it has broccoli and black beans in it, and the like, he declared it fine.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

      Baked Potato (baked potatoes), 2 pounds
      Butter, unsalted, 1 tbsp
      Milk, 1%, .25 cup
      Kraft Chunk 2% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese, 2 oz
      Soy Sauce, 1 tbsp
      Olive Oil, 1 tbsp
      Onions, raw, 1 large, chopped
      Carrots, raw, 1 pound, chopped
      Garlic, 3 clove, chopped
      Broccoli, fresh, 12 ozs (I bought a bag of chopped)
      Green Beans (snap), .5 cup, chopped
      Del Monte Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes, 28 oz can
      Beans, black, 15 oz can
      Spinach, fresh, 2 cup (Again, I bought a bag of chopped)
      Oregano, ground, 1 tbsp
      Basil, 1 tbsp
    Adobo, 1 tsp (or garlic salt)


1. Prepare potatoes: peel and cube, boil for about 7 minutes. Drain and mix with the butter, milk and soy sauce, along with spices of your choice. I added some rosemary and garlic. Set aside.
2. Prepare veggies in a large skillet while the potatoes boil. Heat the oil and add the garlic. Stir fry for a minute, add the onions and carrots. Let those cook for a while and add all veggies except the spinach and the beans and tomatoes. After about 5-10 minutes, add the beans and tomatoes and let simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add the spinach and simmer 5 more minutes.
4. Put the veggies in a large casserole dish (3-4 quarts) and spread the mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle a little bit of cheese on top and then sprinkle some paprika on top.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350 oven or until topping is lightly browned.

Serving Size: Makes 8 servings

  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 281.3
  • Total Fat: 5.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 9.3 mg
  • Sodium: 638.9 mg
  • Total Carbs: 50.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 10.6 g
  • Protein: 11.1 g

My kid swears she isn’t missing meat yet (although we’ve had our share of fish!)

I was going to blog about all we saw and did in Tybee, but this came first. So, be patient; I will bring you all my recommendations about Tybee. That is to say, not a lot. The whole island is tiny and there’s a grand total of 19 restaurants to choose from and about 17 of them ain’t so great. (Still, Tybee is fabulous.)

Any vegetarians out there got any advice on how we should proceed? Thoughts? Am I crazy to let my 11-year old try this?


2 thoughts on “Rediscovering Ms. Jane Brody

  1. jakethy

    Short answer: no. Altho’, take note – I’m new to the vegetarian scene. I swore off meat last November after not being able to unlearn what I know now about the factory farm industry (watch a documentary called “Earthlings” and you’ll never eat another animal again, I assure you). However, my fiancee has been a veggie for 19 years, so that’s been a big help (her entire family has high cholesterol and most of ’em are on meds for it – hers is now perfect). Now we’re both transitioning into a vegan diet. I’m telling you all this background info to point out that I’m still a brand new sponge for any info about the lifestyle and NOTHING I’ve found would indicate any reason to not embrace this diet. I’ve talked to pregnant mothers who were vegetarians and delivered exceptionally healthy babies. I’ve read stories about a plethora of benefits, for the eater, animals, and the planet. There are tons of great cookbooks and websites that the two of you might have fun exploring and you’ll find it’s no more expensive or labor intensive than a typical diet. I can’t imagine anyone would argue that it wouldn’t be wise to let a child take on the practice.
    Bottom line for me personally: food is awesome! We don’t wear the same clothes all our lives or read the same books. Why do we eat the same foods? There’s so much more out there to eat than animals – I found out my carnivore diet hadn’t even scratched the surface and now I’m eating food with flavors and tastes that at age 40 make me feel like a child again.

    1. cuprado Post author

      Wow, thanks for the very helpful answer! I actually re-educated myself about food about 4 years ago, not wanting to go up another pants size. I did Weight Watchers and that taught me how to eat all over again. So this seems like the next logical step. I had thought about it for a while, but until my daughter said “I want to do this” I didn’t think I could do it alone. My husband has been extremely reluctant. I understand his concern. I see a lot of kids who end up being carbotarians. I had a friend who joked that her daughter was a vegetarian who wouldn’t eat vegetables. But my kid eats veggies. And, if we do it together, then I think we can be successful. And I like your philosophy about food!


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