Animal advocates on various social networking site have been getting excited over the news that Paul McCartney (formerly of some band or other) has just released a cookbook. Why the excitement? Some say that it's another step forward for nonhuman animals. Me? I say it's another step backwards, thanks to another well-intentioned celebrity who doesn't understand that animals aren't ours to use.
The Meat Free Monday Cookbook -- by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney -- has just been released to further promote McCartney's campaign (i.e. its namesake) to get people to not eat meat one day a week. According to The Telegraph, royalties from the book will go directly into funding for the ongoing Meat Free Monday campaign McCartney's been promoting for the past few years now, whose greatest accomplishment thus far seems to have been to make people feel better about themselves for meaninglessly shuffling around various animal products so that they omit one particular type one day a week. "But meat-free Mondays promote veganism!" I was assured earlier today by a fellow vegan. "You're being too cynical," I was told by another.
Not unlike the North American Meatless Monday fad, however, the Meat Free Monday campaign doesn't concern itself with persuading people to go vegan. It doesn't really concern itself all that much with animal use at all, actually. The McCartney family's statement from the official website:
"By giving up meat for one day each week you can save money, reduce your environmental impact and live a healthier life.Where do animal rights fit into all of this? How does this campaign purportedly promote veganism? Right! It doesn't. In fact, the recipes link on the official site leads to a veritable smorgasbord of animal products, with milk, cream, butter, a seemingly never-ending variety of cheeses, eggs and honey.
In 2006, a United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, highlighted the environmental impact of meat-eating and the importance of making more environmentally and socially conscious food choices. In 2009, we launched the Meat Free Monday campaign as a simple and straightforward idea to show everyone the value of eating less meat – and to make it easier for us all to do so.We’re not asking you to give up meat completely, we’re encouraging you to do your bit to help protect our planet."
If you have any lingering doubts about where veganism fits into McCartney's campaign, a couple of preview glances on Amazon UK's page for the book should clear things up for you. The very first recipes listed from Page 19 of the book are for Blueberry Pancakes (which include unsalted butter, organic milk, buttermilk and organic eggs), along with one for falafel and another for quinoa salad (both of which are free of animal ingredients). The second page of recipes listed (Page 44) lists recipes for a dish called Laban Bil Bayd (which contains unsalted butter, Greek yogurt and organic eggs), then an Asparagus Tray Bake (with crème fraîche, Parmesan cheese and eggs) and then a final recipe for Lemon Pistachio Biscotti (containing eggs). The third page of recipes listed (Page 159) lists recipes for Poached Quince with Vanilla (with a suggestion to serve it with yogurt), Puy Lentils with Roasted Red Peppers and Goat's Cheese (containing the aforementioned goat's cheese) and then Cheese and Chive Potato Jackets (which include butter, organic milk and Cheddar cheese as ingredients). The very last page of recipes featured (Page 222) lists three recipes which happen to be free of animal ingredients. Basically, out of 12 recipes from the book happening to be featured on the Amazon UK site, over half of them use animal ingredients -- easily avoidable animal ingredients.
If you're vegan and thinking of picking something up for a non-vegan friend or family member, please don't waste your time or money buying this book. There are so very many excellent vegan cookbooks available on the market right now. Why waste an opportunity to show someone you love how delicious food can be without animal products? A book like McCartney's accomplishes nothing but to to reinforce to the public that animals are ours to use and that food somehow requires animal products to be tasty. We know better, though, don't we?
Help your non-vegan friends and family connect the dots about what we owe nonhuman animals; please don't follow Paul McCartney's lead and merely confuse them further.