I became vegetarian aged 19 at university, after about six months just eating fish, for reasons now which I cannot fathom. I have only once eaten meat since then (that I know of), accidentally, at a restaurant.
My first vegetarian cookbook was bought for me by mum, and was Linda's Kitchen by Linda McCartney. I still use this book now, and still absolutely love the recipes, the style and the warmth which radiates out of it. That book definitely kept me as a vegetarian in those early days. I remember making recipes out of it in our filthy, freezing flat in Edinburgh for all my meat eating friends - who, of course, greedily and enthusiastically gobbled the meals all up whilst de-crying the absence of meat!
Being veggie was a big deal for me then. Firstly, it was nearly 20 years ago (yikes!), when veggies were considered exceptionally misguided at best, freakish at worst. Secondly, my Dad's first job was a fully trained butcher. Hmm. On the menu at home was a LOT of meat. So I think back to my Mum buying me Linda's Kitchen, when all she had ever known was how to cook meat and potatoes and veg. Thank you, Mum. I didn't realise how enlightened it was at the time, or how generous, and how very ... like a Mum's love.
Anyway, I guess this post has been a eulogy to Linda's Kitchen as well as a reflection on my love of veggie cookbooks, begun all those years ago by my Mum ... who doesn't even use recipes herself. I am intending on posting a series of blogs all about my favourite veggie cookbooks, and I will probably start with Linda's Kitchen.
Until then, happy cooking, and happy reading!