Eating less meat has had its periodic revolutions in American culinary history. Rev. Sylvester Graham, father of the graham cracker, advocated against eating meat, pepper, and milled flour in the 1830s. A Vegetarian Society gained traction in the mid 1800s. During World War I the United States Food Administration promoted Meatless Monday and Wheatless Wednesday to save resources, and during World War II the government asked Americans to cut back on meat consumption and grow their own vegetables in Victory Gardens to support the war effort abroad.
While those efforts faded after World War II, Meatless Monday was reintroduced in 2003 as a public health awareness program as part of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Britain adopted a similar campaign in 2009, Meat Free Monday, launched by rocker Paul McCartney and his daughters Stella and Mary.
In fact, Mary McCartney has just published a cookbook, “Food: Vegetarian home cooking.” The mission of her cookbook is simply, “food that’s healthy but doesn’t feel righteous,” she told The New York Times, thankful the political discussions that would inevitably flare up when carnivores discovered she was a vegetarian are mostly a thing of the past. “I was shocked by how many debates I’d get into when I had dinner,” she told the Times. “Excuse me, I just met you, I’m having dinner – why are you on my case?”