At a young age, Mary McCartney was introduced to the world of vegetarianism by her mother, Linda McCartney. Her father is Paul McCartney (yes, that one) and according to her recently published cookbook, “Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking,” he played a role in spurring her love of vegetarian food in particular.
McCartney says she is a photographer, not a professional cook, and her book is filled with her beautiful photographs of the dishes she lovingly creates.
She spoke recently about vegetarian cooking.
When did you first fall in love with food?
Growing up watching my mother cooking was a magical process. The smells that would drift in from the kitchen were tantalizing. I always loved it when my mum would bake banana bread. Yum.
Why is healthy, vegetarian food important to you?
I love food that tastes satisfying but also has a sense of indulgence. I love creating meals that have great health values and are really tasty.
Is it ever a struggle to convince your kids to eat vegetarian? How can parents teach their kids to eat better food?
It is not a struggle … as I think ahead to cook recipes that I am content will deliver the health element I want them to have, but that they will enjoy eating. I make them soups that I blend, so they don’t consider the amount of vegetables or white beans they are consuming. I don’t like to debate over how much they need to eat. I just want them to eat it and enjoy it.
What do you hope to achieve with the cookbook?
A lot of people I know are looking to reduce their meat consumption, but find it a bit daunting thinking of meat-free meals. I wanted to take that stress away. These recipes have been created to be tasty and easy to prepare, so that cooking can be an enjoyable experience.
Are there any foods you don’t cook with?
I do not cook much with Brussels sprouts! They are my least favorite vegetable. Although I did try a grated Brussels sprouts coleslaw with a tangy lemon dressing, which was fantastic, so I may start making that.
What’s your advice for the beginner cook who wants to cook simply and vegetarian, as you do?
Start out following recipes that are easy to follow. Soups are a great way to start cooking.