Attorney Sarah Matheny grew up in an average American household, eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). What did young Sarah think the phrase “a healthy diet“ meant?
“… adding just one teaspoon of sugar to a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, eating the crust in addition to the innards of a Wonder Bread sandwich, and drinking a large glass of milk to wash down the chocolate chip cookie.”
That mindset, she observes in the Peas and Thank You Cookbook, didn’t change even after she married a fellow lawyer and had two daughters. So what did transform the butcher’s granddaughter into the author of a meatless cookbook?
It took a video clip of a Governor visiting a turkey farm to pardon a Thanksgiving turkey. As the Governor was issuing the stay of execution, what happened in the background shocked her.
Farm employees slaughtered a second turkey while it tried to escape. Sarah describes how witnessing the sudden killing instantly made her stomach drop and eyes fill with tears.
She writes, “This violent and abrupt realization of where my food came from impacted my choices from then on.” It also led her to research factory farming.
What she learned their conditions forced her to question the safety of her food. And that’s when Sarah Matheny decided her only option was to give up meat.
For a while, she prepared three dinners — vegetarian for herself and the SAD foods-of-choice for her husband Chris and daughters.
But within a few weeks, Chris volunteered to adopt a vegetarian diet: “Once he saw he could enjoy a meatless meal … [he] was excited for all of us to make the transition to vegetarianism.”
Soon her older daughter was asking why the family no longer ate chicken: “Not the kind of chicken that lives on a farm. The kind of chicken that you EAT!”
From then on, Sarah confesses, her mission would be to transition the family from SAD foods to “something better.”
She was also determined, however, to see her family embrace a meat-free diet because the food was so much more enjoyable than what they were used to eating!
In her own words:
“I want my children and husband to come to the dinner table each night with the same feelings of excitement and anticipation that I had as a child, and to leave the dinner table with the same contentment and satisfaction.”
Once convinced that her food could persuade anyone to go meatless, Sarah started the Peas and Thank You blog. That led to the Peas and Thank You Cookbook, featuring 85 of her family’s and followers’ favorite plant-based recipes.
Flipping through her creations, I noticed that the author needs to extend her Thanksgiving turkey-slaughter research to include the factory farming of dairy cows. Although her recipes are free of meat, she offers dairy products as alternatives to vegan milks and cheeses.
Her recipes include:
Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Chocolate Almond Cherry Smoothie
Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chickpeas
Thai Veggie Burgers
Green and Red Lentil Enchiladas
Chipotle Lime Tempeh Tacos
Double Chocolate/Single Chin Brownies
It’s obvious these meals have accomplished Sarah’s original goal – a grateful family!