Real Life A Baby Boomer in Appalachia
Friends Drift Inn
Wednesday April 20 Edition Appalachian News Express
She wakes up to the Puget Sound. I gaze across The Big Sandy River.
The majesty of Mount Rainer is in her rearview mirror as she drives through Seattle. My route is the ever-changing vistas of Kentucky’s Appalachian mountains.
She writes a bimonthly food column in “USA Today”. I write about food for the “Appalachian News Express.”
Our view of life is world’s a part…..and as close as the kitchen table.
I caught up to Kim, and her husband Russ Walker, in Lexington, KY.
We grabbed a quick breakfast together, and spent a few minutes at opening day of the Lexington Farmers Market Southland location.
To be honest, I expected her to be the “Meat Police.” My fears were unfounded. Kim is not a vegetarian. However, Kim is passionate. She is emphathic. She is patient, thoughtful and has a dry sense of humor.
When Kim speaks, it’s not some big city gal trying to tell the country folk how to live…..it’s just Kim reflecting on the state of our food system and culture.
Her message is simple, “Give vegetables more real estate on your plate.” Reducing the intake of animal fats will help your body become healthier and keep a little more cash in your pocketbook.
Meatless Monday has been around awhile. A non-profit initiative, it is supported by John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Big city restaurants like Babbo owned by Food Network personality Mario Batali embrace the movement.
Most of Kim’s recipes from her book The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores Will DevourVegetables & Vegetarian Books) include ingredients we are all familiar with sweet potatoes, greens, potatoes, rice, beans, and peppers. Kim’s approach to those ingredients is what makes her book so interesting.
I thought she was nuts suggesting mint in a frittata! But you know what; it was a nice springy change of pace.
I jumped all over her recipe for “Meatless Crab Cakes” as seafood really hates me. Can you imagine crab cakes with cilantro? Well Kim can!
When we switched gears from Meatless Menus to canning, our conversation became even more animated.
Kim is one of the founders of “Canning Across America” part of the Canvolution hash tag on Twitter. Like Meatless Monday, the underlying intent is to get people back in the kitchen cooking with their own two hands.
Given her head, Kim would rather make jams and jellies than any other canning project…but you don’t have to tell her “Whoa Nellie!” She cans vegetables too.
Kim is enthusiastic about Farmers Markets, and as we strolled in Lexington’s Southland market I was amused to see her face light up at the selections of garden plants…especially the fresh herbs. Kentucky gardens are reaping spring harvests……and it’s still chilly in Seattle. A little Kentucky sunshine looked good on Kim.
If you get a chance, meet up with Kim O’Donnel sometime. She will make you think. She will make you laugh. And maybe just maybe, she will open your eyes to the possibilities.
Live long and prosper, Kim!