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The Pollans Celebrate Family Meals – (includes Michael J. Fox)

When all of the Pollans get together for a meal, they number 21. While it all began with Corky and Stephen, their three daughters Tracy, Dana, and Lori and son Michael have grown up, married, have children of their own; but meeting at the family table is still an important part of their lives. Whenever they are at their respective homes in Sharon, they eat together. For them, food has always been synonymous with connection.

“Dinner was a chance for the whole family to gather,” says Dana who, along with Lori, founded the Pollan-Austen Fitness Center, one of New York’s top-rated exercise studios. “Corky prepared these amazing meals and we would sit around the table and talk about what was going on in our lives.”

Cooking and preparing meals was always a family affair. Corky worked at New York magazine and started the popular “New York’s Best Bets“ column and then went on to be style director at Gourmet. Everyone needed to pitch in to get dinner on the table at a
reasonable hour.

“It never seemed like a chore to us,” says Lori, who is now a certified life coach, helping clients to improve fitness, nutrition, and stress management and to create a healthy lifestyle. It was the camaraderie shared in the kitchen that prompted the Pollans to write their first cookbook The Pollan Family Table: The Best Recipes and Kitchen Wisdom for Delicious, Healthy Family Meals—they also have a food blog with the same name. More than a cookbook, it’s about a family and how food is the thread that winds through their lives. The women share not only recipes, but also their philosophy about food and living and caring. “We wanted to create a book that helped people to sit down and enjoy a family meal together, with easy-to-cook recipes,” says Tracy, Emmy-nominated actress and wife of Michael J. Fox. “It was really about the importance of eating together and bringing your kids into the kitchen.” 

Now we have Mostly Plants: 101 Delicious Flexitarian Recipes From the Pollan Family. The title was inspired by Michael’s advice of  “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” In his foreword, he stresses the fact that a mostly plants approach to eating has real and tangible benefits to both a person’s well being as well as the planet’s. “We Americans tend to cast our eating choices in either/or ideological terms, and there is certainly an ethical and environmental case to be made for going vegetarian: meat eating contributes mightily to climate change and many people question the morality of eating animals.”

The Pollans believe that a flexitarian diet is a happy medium. It means not completely giving up fish, meat, or dairy, but making a conscious effort to fill your plate with more vegetables. It’s a philosophy they all follow. Dana and Lori consider themselves vegetarian, while Corky and Tracy identify as flexitarian. “You can adapt this concept to suit your own needs,” says Lori. “Don’t get drastic; start out with meatless Mondays and create meals that are healthy and fun and that everyone can enjoy. If that works, move on to the next step.”

It’s all fairly easy to begin, especially since these recipes are not your average vegetarian fare. And they are easy to prepare. Start with chicken piccata with broccoli “rice” then move onto shrimp scampi with zucchini noodles; penne with roasted vegetables and mozzarella; or white bean and kale quesadillas with roasted tomatillo sauce; or cauliflower, spinach, and chickpea patties. The Pollans cover every imaginable combination of vegetables; each is more tantalizing than the other. And there are photographs to tempt as well. The instructions are easy to follow. And while you are reading the recipe, thanks to their warm and embracing style, it feels as if the Pollans are in the kitchen with you. And hopefully so is your family.    




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