Posted on August 18, 2010 - by

You’re The One

“Women Nourish Us” is FRESH’s femme-focused blog series. Every week, we turn to a leading woman in the good food movement for ideas and inspiration. Be sure to check us out every Wednesday for a new write-in. Then pass the post!

Seattle-based Kim O’Donnel is a trained chef, nationally recognized online food personality and longtime journalist.  She is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education and The University of Pennsylvania.  Formerly of The Washington Post, she has also written for Real Simple, Huffington Post, True/Slant, CivilEats and Smithsonian.com.  She is a regular contributor to Culinate, where she hosts a weekly chat.  In her work, she combines reportage and analysis on where and how our food is raised and grown with practical tips and advice on the kitchen life.

Kim recently attended the kick-off event at the White House for Chefs Move to Schools, Michelle Obama’s latest initiative focused on child nutrition and wellness. She is the founder of Canning Across America, a collective dedicated to the revival of preserving food.   Her first book, “The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook,” will be released on September 14.


Dreams come true if you let them.

Two years ago this week, I was driving through Wyoming as part of a cross-country move from DC to Seattle. It would be another month before boxes would be pried open and my home office would be set up – and an idea for a cookbook would be hatched. Brainstorming is like breathing for me, and it’s what friends and family have come to expect as part of the package. Not all ideas stick to the wall, but this one, dreamed up in September 2008, followed me day and night, until I embraced it and said, You’re The One.

My flight of imagination safely landed onto paper and quickly morphed into semi-coherent thoughts that resulted in a book proposal. In less than one year, I had an agent and a book deal. And on the second anniversary of my cross-country sojourn, I have an advance copy of my book, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook, in hand. I share this little tale not to toot my own horn, but as a reminder:

Dreams come true if you let them.

The book goes something like this: Heeding the call of lowering my cholesterol (and my carbon footprint), I, Miss Meat Lover USA, pledged to take one day off from my beloved roasts, chops and steaks. To keep the meatless momentum going, I developed a collection of 52 meatless menus, one for every week of the year, that works its way through the seasons. But let’s be clear: I am not a meatless missionary on some quest to convert the hamburger lovers of the world. Rather, my mission is to lure people back into the kitchen. I’m not interested in labels (flexitarian, vegetarian and so on), but I am working my darnedest every day to remind Americans that food is not something we watch being prepared on cable television, but dinner made from our hands, with salt, pepper and pots and pans.

In becoming a nation of food-obsessed non-cooks, we have fallen into a collective coma, a legion of unwittingly passive spectators that will eat anything set in front of us, no questions asked. By taking a pass at the stove, we have been elbowed out of the table, headed by genetically modified corn and soy barons with really big appetites for big money and little-to-zero interest in protecting the soil, the animals, the workers and the ever-hungry American consumer.

Of course I’d love for you to put my eat-less-meat idea to the test and buy the book, but more than anything, my dream is to get all of us cooking again. Meatless, meat-filled – it doesn’t matter to me. Let’s open that kitchen door, all together now, and ignite a flame for all to see. The results, I promise you, will be delicious.

Dreams come true if you let them.


To get in touch with Kim or learn more about her work, visit her website or take part in her weekly chat on Culinate. Feeling inspired to go meatless one day a week? You can pre-order her book here.

Photos on this page by Myra Kohn.

*If you believe in the power of women’s words and our growing sustainable food movement, please spread the word about our Women Nourish Us blog series via email, Facebook & Twitter (http://fdl.me/d1nqNe). If you would like to host a screening of FRESH for your friends or organization, please – be in touch!

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  1. Visit My Website

    August 18, 2010

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    delayne said:

    Your wonderful post touched on a number of subjects that are uppermost in my mind these days — lowering one’s carbon footprint, returning to the kitchen, eating less meat, etc. I’m eagerly awaiting your book, Kim! :D



  2. Visit My Website

    August 18, 2010

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    CDare said:

    WOW! I got chills! Like delayne, your topics are at the forefront of my mind! Can’t wait to get your book!! Keep up the good fight for Good Food!