The One Thing a Famous Vegetarian Chef and a Pro Butcher Can Agree On

On our new episode of BITE, Amanda Cohen and Adam Danforth rethink the plate.

Professional butcher and author Adam Danforth<a href="http://www.kellerkeller.com/">Keller and Keller</a>

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Another episode of Bite, our food politics podcast, is out today and available for download. You can find it along with our previous episodes here, or by subscribing in iTunes, Stitcher, or via RSS.

Close your eyes and picture dinner. There’s a good chance you imagined a piece of meat nestled in some mashed vegetables and maybe a salad, right? For decades, that’s been the typical American meal. “It’s a Western civilization concept that comes from the French tradition of cooking,” said Amanda Cohen, one of the guests on this week’s episode of Bite.

Cohen is the vegetarian chef-owner of the restaurant Dirt Candy, which has remained one of New York City’s hottest restaurants since it opened. She’s become famous for rethinking the ingredients or dishes we thought we knew, and turning them inside out—concocting things like portobello mousse, broccoli “hot dogs,” eggplant tiramisu.  And she does so without braising a single pork belly.

Amanda Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirty Candy in New York City. Photo courtesy Amanda Cohen

Though this vegetable takeover might sound distinctly un-American, it’s not such a foreign concept elsewhere: “If you look at other countries and other types of cuisine, you see a lot less meat,” said Cohen. “It’s a luxury ingredient and not supposed to be the main part of the meal.”

This mentality is music to Adam Danforth‘s ears—which might be a little surprising, because Danforth is a professional butcher (and our second guest this week). He’s worked at New York restaurants like Marlow & Daughters and Blue Hill, and he’s the author of James Beard Award-winning guides to meat cutting. As he tells Bite‘s hosts, he thinks tender meat is overblown, and he encourages people to buy their cuts from older animals.

Danforth is also the rare butcher who stands by the mantra “eat less meat.” The secret to doing so might be scrapping plates altogether and focusing on bowls instead: “You can’t put a porterhouse steak in a bowl and eat it,” Danforth said. “Let’s reverse-engineer meat into a dish, rather than start with a meat dish.”

Cohen also gave Bite‘s hosts the lowdown on why she’s so over the words “local” and “seasonal.” And you’ll hear about some science that might change your view of the breakfast smoothie and some more science that will make you think very differently about extreme weight loss.

Show Notes

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.