Q. You know this territory well (this is your third book on the topic). Did you learn anything new or surprising while putting this one together?
A. Lots! First of all, I had to scrap nearly everything I’d written halfway through when our family began battling type 1 diabetes and we became aware of the fact that many Americans are unable to tolerate grains and legumes in their diets. I began this book under the assumption that the way to stretch meat farther was to pair it with grains and legumes. When you’ve got to pay for insulin out of your own pocket (which we do), suddenly grains and legumes, which spike insulin demand, don’t seem so cheap. With the exception of a few truly special recipes (such as my beloved Cassoulet de Castelnaudary), grains and legumes had to play a much smaller role in my recipe selection.
If my family had to avoid grains and legumes, was our diet necessarily unsustainable? That led me back to the discovery of the nutritional importance of the bones, fat, and the organ meats (although proportionally, they make up a significantly smaller portion of the animal waste). What I learned was that by concentrating more fully on utilizing the whole animal, I was able to find ways to nourish my family even more effectively than before. Thus, we eliminated the grains and legumes, but then found that by focusing on the “waste,” we actually reduced the ecological impact of our dietary needs. We didn’t eat more meat; we drank more broth, prepared more soups, etc.