Readers! As Casual Kitchen's readership continues to grow, I've been receiving more and more great questions via email, comments and Twitter. As always, I welcome your feedback, so please let me know what you think!
My father needs to cut back on red meat and my mother wants to eat more vegetables. They both are good cooks but not inventive, and they always fall back on a handful of recipes and ways to prepare vegetables. They don't have Internet access, so cookbooks and occasional ideas shared over the phone are the only source of new inspiration.
So, I'm looking for a cookbook for my parents that's mostly vegetarian or light on meat, but one that's not heavily based on tofu and other soy products ("too granola" as my father would put it). Do you have any suggestions?
The ideal cookbook for you is Almost Meatless. I wrote a rabidly positive review of this exceptional cookbook right after it came out. It's perfectly suited for your parents and others interested in reducing their meat intake but not interested in making the leap to full-on vegetarianism.
A couple of other possibilities: Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant and Moosewood Cooks at Home are both excellent. Both are mostly meatless yet also feature quite a few fish and seafood recipes. Cooks at Home tends to feature simple and quick recipes, while Sundays tends to feature more ethnic dishes. CK's Groundnut Stew (borrowed and modified from Sundays) is a typical--and delicious--example.
Finally, Jay Solomon's Vegetarian Soup Cuisine. It's out of print, but you can find a used copy at Amazon. It's purely vegetarian, but there isn't a single recipe in there that calls for tofu. It's full of amazing soups based on beans and a wide range of veggies (our Smoky Brazilian Black Bean Soup is a house favorite), and it's suitable for all seasons and palates.
And I agree with your father! Too many veggie cookbooks over-rely on tofu, as if it's some kind of obligatory meat substitute. To me tofu is a second-order food that I try to avoid. A truly well-made vegetarian recipe doesn't need a "meat substitute" to be delicious. And while this is a common way non-vegetarians think about vegetarian meals, I consider it a limiting belief that prevents people from experiencing veggie cuisine in all its diversity.
Why do you run that big ad above every one of your articles? I'm putting you on notice as a reader. In fact, why do you bother to run ads at all on your blog? They're annoying.
I'm always struggling with how to balance my readers' preferences with my desire to earn at least some revenue for the immense amount of time I put into writing and moderating Casual Kitchen.
Long term readers know I've been a consistent user of Adsense ads, and I've also experimented with lots of other ways to earn revenue--and hopefully minimize reader annoyance. I use Chitika's search ad platform (and found it wanting, quite honestly) and from time to time I use Sponsored Tweets. I've also run text-based advertising as well as one-off ads that I've sold to sponsors.
Of course, ads aren't the only way I earn money here. I earn proceeds from affiliate relationships with great content providers like Jules Clancy and Everett Bogue, and I earn revenue from being an affiliate with Amazon.com. The short answer is, I don't know what the best method is to earn money from blogging. But placing some ads here at CK seems like a reasonably unobtrusive way to balance the needs of my readers with the needs of my wallet. Either way, I will always try my best to respond to reader feedback, and if you disagree or want to share any thoughts, please do so via email or in the comments below.
A final point. If you really want to read Casual Kitchen and you cannot stand seeing any advertising whatsoever, there's an easy solution. Join some 1400 other readers and subscribe to Casual Kitchen via RSS (my preferred feedreader is Google Reader). Keep in mind: I earn no revenue from readers who subscribe to me via feeds--I only earn money from Google Adsense ads or any other sponsor or affiliate if you click through to CK's site and then click an ad. But using RSS is the easiest way to avoid all annoyances here at CK. Well, except for all of the annoying things I write. :)
Readers, what are your thoughts? Share them in the comments!
How can I support Casual Kitchen?
If you enjoy reading Casual Kitchen, tell a friend and spread the word! You can also support me by purchasing items from Amazon.com via links on this site, or by linking to me or subscribing to my RSS feed. Finally, you can consider submitting this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to bookmarking sites like del.icio.us, digg or stumbleupon. Thank you for your support!