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“No Meat Required” by Alicia Kennedy Explores the Cultural History and Culinary Future of Plant-Based Eating

Alicia Kennedy, a freelance journalist and prominent voice on food, climate, culture, and veganism, has published her latest literary project, No Meat Required. The book is an exploration of the cultural history and culinary future of plant-based eating in the United States, seeking to dismantle conventional notions of vegan cuisine. 

“I think when people hear about vegan or vegetarian or plant-based food, it’s all ideological, and for me, I also want it to be very real and tangible.”

In an interview with British Vogue, Kennedy shared her motivations behind the book, challenging readers to reevaluate their perceptions of alternative diets and showcasing the benefits of going plant-based in a consumer-driven world with limited resources. She shares, “I think when people hear about vegan or vegetarian or plant-based food, it’s all ideological, and for me, I also want it to be very real and tangible.”

No meat required
© Alicia Kennedy

Once regarded as a niche choice for countercultural figures, plant-based eating has undergone a dramatic transformation. Today, upscale establishments and mainstream fast-food chains alike have embraced the trend, sparking discussions about its evolving identity and whether it can maintain its anti-capitalist roots in the face of commercialization.

Debunking misconceptions

Kennedy, who was the previous owner of a vegan bakery, a vegan columnist for NYLON, and the host of the podcast Meatless, is uniquely positioned to deliver this culinary and cultural narrative. Her book aims to debunk misconceptions associated with plant-based diets. “People generally think that it’s difficult… ‘Oh, it must be so hard. It’s so hard to make vegetables or tofu or beans interesting. All these things are so much harder to cook than meat,'” Kennedy said in the interview, addressing common preconceptions.

A vital focus of No Meat Required is the relationship between plant-based eating and socio-political issues such as climate change, inequality, and cultural degradation. Kennedy’s exploration of these connections offers readers a deeper understanding of the broader implications of dietary choices.

Looking ahead, Kennedy envisions further conversations beyond plant-based diets. She concludes, “Going forward, I would like to talk less about plant-based food specifically and more about building regional, resilient food systems and what that really looks like.”

No Meat Required is available from Amazon and other online book retailers. 

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