Food Links: Unprocessed October, Healthy Thanksgiving, Reviews

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I offered a guest post (a recipe for baked chicken nuggets) for Andrew Wilder’s Eating Rules “October Unprocessed,” a challenge to completely avoid processed food for a month. (Disclosure: I did fairly well, but did resort to sandwiches made with processed bread and a few granola bars while on book tour…) His effort resulted in 31 days of great tips and tactics for freeing yourself form the generalized tyranny of convenience foods.

In a similar vein over at What Would Cathy Eat?, Cathy Elton has laid down another challenge: a Heatlhy Thanksgiving. Several of my family members have cut down our meat consumption (more on that in another post), so this year Mike and I  decided it’s time for a vegetarian Thanksgiving.

Yes, you read that right. No deboned whole turkey, no heavily buttered white potato gratins. See, I’ve got this thing. I love my husband. He has some not-nice family history with heart disesase and didn’t score so great on a modern medical-style peek at his arteries, so we both agreed recently to cut back our meat and dairy consumption. But his first question was, “Well, when I don’t eat meat, what can I eat?” As it turns out, plenty.

cathy-squareI think that’s why I like Cathy’s site. After a heart condition led her doctor to recommend a bland diet – to which she responded, if memory serves, “No fucking way” – she overhauled her diet and proves that eating well doesn’t mean giving up great food or flavor.

It has always struck me as odd that we celebrate one of the most Puritan of holidays with one of the deadly sins (gluttony). Last year, I gained 10 pounds between mid-November and January 1st. I’m height-challenged at 5’3”, so while that gain might make some people’s jeans tight, it made it impossible to wear most of my clothes. I’ve decided this year, I don’t want to go there.

So, who’s with me? I’m not saying you have to give up the bird, but perhaps don’t wrap it in bacon, avoid the boxed stuffing, try to cut some of the calories out of that pumpkin pie and up your offering of vegetables. (See all of Cathy’s tips.) I’m going to post recipes as I find them, so if you know of some great options (including your own), let me know. I’ll even be hosting an online chat the week of Thanksgiving to answer questions and share what I’ve decided to make. If you’re on Twitter, follow the hashtag #healthythanks

Other links:

  1. In an embarssment of riches in terms of great coverage, here are a few of the best written reviews of the The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Wall Street Journal and Associated Press (it appeared all over, but here it is on the Today show site). Thanks for the kind and well thought-out words. I’m compiling a list of all the reviews in the next couple of weeks — when I get a chance to catch my breath.
  2. Chow Bella: I think that the folks behind the food section at New Times in Phoenix is on to something. They developed an online book club that paired with local bookstore Changing Hands to offer a discount on their selection. I’m deeply honored they selected my book as their first, especially since it prompted my publisher, Viking/Penguin to hastily add another tour date to send me there (as I write this, tomorrow). But it reminds me that even in an age-old industry as newspapers and bookstores, there’s always a new way to do what both mean to do: engage people and bring them together. It’s also made me think, maybe more authors should start online book clubs? I have so many books that I read that I think deserve an audience, plus I love books (especially books about food) and I adore talking about them. Stay tuned.

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" and "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good." All are published by Viking/Penguin.


  1. Can’t wait to see you tomorrow night at Changing Hands. Loved your book!

  2. Thanks for mentioning the Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge. If you are going veg this year, I highly recommend my vegan gravy from last Thanksgiving. People liked it better than the turkey gravy!

  3. echocliffsCarole in AZ says:

    I found you via Changing Hands! I haven’t quite finished reading your inspiring book…It is taking me some time to underline and place stickies and tell friends about your ideas! I hope to see you tomorrow night. Thank you for adding the stop!

    • Carole – Too funny! I’ve done the same thing – highlighter, dog-eared pages, sticky notes. And lots of emails back and forth between my friends and me. I can’t say enough what an inspiring/motivating kick in the pants this book has been for me!

  4. My daughter and I were very excited to meet you at Changing Hands. (She drove in to Phoenix from Flagstaff just for your event.) I dearly love “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less you Cry” and proposed it to our book club (or as we call it, The Little Wine Club That Reads) last year. Everyone loved it as much as I do. I’m thrilled to have “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School” and look forward to reading your “farm” book. Your talk/reading at Changing Hands was delightful, like hanging out with a friend. Way off the subject, but your black peep-toe pumps with the polka dot trim were so adorable. Where did you get them???

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