Review: Myrna Robins
The Flexitarian Foodie by Jax Moorcroft (Penguin Random House)
It was motherhood that changed Jax Moorcroft’s perspective on life: the realisation that she needed to live the lessons she wants her children to embrace as they grow up.
And how to start? While many of us have the best intentions to eat healthy food and do our best for the environment, we all make mistakes and fall by the wayside. But, says Moorcroft, we can all start by doing something small, keeping it simple, letting it become a habit.
After several years, she continues to tread more gently while navigating real life, doing her best “to make living a sustainable life attainable”. And in a week when Cop26 begins in Glasgow, this sounds like sage advice.
The fact that Moorcroft lost both her parents to cancer before her 21st birthday also inspired her to honour them with this book by leaving a message for current and future generations. She makes her point again as she suggests if we all start with a few small incremental changes in the way we live we can influence others to join us and be similarly inspired.
The introduction is long, but worthwhile digesting as she elaborates on the well-known mantra of “re-use, reduce and recycle”, adding “refuse” and “rot” to the list. Refuse simply means saying “no thank you” to single-use plastic (think plastic cutlery and unnecessary packaging, while “rot” recommends disposing your food waste on a home compost heap rather than throwing it out with the rubbish.
She also has plenty of advice on greening your kitchen and going organic where possible.
Recipes start with pantry staples that include homemade veggie stock, bone-broth stock, home-dried herbs and seasonings for meat, salad dressings, sauces and spreads.
There are several breakfast goodies worth trying, including an omelette where the eggs are blitzed with spinach and topped with grated cheese. Gluten-free almond crumpets look tempting as well.
Main meals include dishes using mince – she buys only sustainably-farmed meat, which is pricey, but they eat fewer animal products so this balances out. She adds many veggies to her meat dishes and makes an organic chicken last for three meals – conventional roast on the first day, her chakalaka coronation chicken on sourdough the next and finishes with chickenstrone soup, which is packed with vegetables .
Fish and seafood get similar treatment with vegetable additions.
More veggies starring in light meals come next, along with vegetable “sides”, while a few complex salads precede desserts: here ice creams predominate and a birthday cake made from kidney beans, rather than flour, intrigues.
Plenty of appetising photographs illustrate the text which ends with a detailed index.