Mary McCartney: Vegetarian Life With Sir Paul (Maybe We Shouldn’t Eat Those Cute Lambs)
From internationally-acclaimed photographer Mary McCartney comes FOOD: Vegetarian Home Cooking, a gorgeous, colorful cookbook that the entire family can enjoy. The daughter of Paul and Linda McCartney, Mary grew up inspired by her mother’s delicious and uncomplicated home-cooking. Part memoir and part cookbook, FOOD gives readers a close look at the life of one of the most famous families on the planet. Readers can enjoy recipes like Breakfast Pancakes, Hearty Quinoa, White Bean Soup, Linda’s Lemon Drizzle Cake, and Paul’s personal favorite, Coconut Rice Pudding with Chocolate Sauce.
By looking at the back cover of Mary McCartney’s new coffee table cookbook, ‘FOOD: Vegetarian Home Cooking,’ you can easily see that she is the perfect blend of DNA from her dad, Sir Paul, and her mom, Linda McCartney. Mary loves to hear that, saying, when she was young, she looked just like Dad, but is aging into looking like Linda.
You can listen to my full interview with Mary here:
LC: The photographs in the book are breath-taking…
MM: Thank you, I took the photos and cooked the food. It was nice to do it that way, test the recipes, then photograph them.
LC: Is Dad a vegetarian, too? I know he’s a big proponent of Meat Free Mondays.
MM: Yes, my dad and my sister Stella and myself all work together to promote Meat Free Mondays, which is an easy concept, which is one day a week to eat vegetarian food and to not eat meat for health reasons and environmental reasons, which is how the book got started.
LC: In the beginning of the book, you’re out on the farm that became popular from the album Ram, and it looks like your dad is in that same vest…
MM: Yeah, those are my earliest food memories… because I was a city girl, I grew up in London and went to Scotland and New York in the summers – my mom was a new Yorker, so we’d go out to Long Island in the summers – so the summers were my food time – we’d have a vegetable plot and I’d pick vegetables, and that’s where I figured out that’s where my food came from – quite a magical time.
LC: Were your parents (Paul and Linda) vegetarians then? Did that click way back when?
MM: They weren’t vegetarians in Scotland, because they were eating lamb and looked out into the field and there were little lambs jumping around, and they connected the two, and , ‘Mmm, that’s what we’re eating, and they’re really cute, maybe we should stop eating them.’ And they sat us down and said, ‘We’re going to become vegetarian, and eat vegetarian at home, but it’s your decision, and if you want to eat meat, that’s fine, but at home we’re going to cook vegetarian food.’ So really, from an early age, that’s what I’ve eaten and really enjoyed it, and I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. By writing this book I want to share what I’ve learned and adapted and made up over the years to sort of help people who want to reduce their meat-eating and eat more vegetarian cooking.
LC: You’ve got a Sage and Onion Roast which looks like a meatloaf for Americans, and you have so many wonderful meals, and were asked to do a book after one great meal, how do you keep getting these ideas?
MM: (Laugh) When I was asked to do the book, I wrote down a list of the food I like to eat and edited it down. It’s important to eat a lot of different types of food – a couple of pasta dishes, a couple of rice dishes… the roast you could have on a Sunday. I really wrote it around a variety of eating occasions. I wanted it to be satisfying and tasty and bright, and not too righteous, something to make your mouth water, and tasty at the same time, which is how I like to eat.
LC: Let’s go back to the photography – did you catch that fever from your mother? (Linda McCartney was an accomplished and published photographer.)
MM: Yes, I did, I grew up watching her take photographs, but when I left school, I was interested in photography, but I didn’t think of making a career of it, because I thought everyone could take good pictures because I grew up watching her (Linda) make it look effortless. Then I was with a friend of mine and looking through her holiday photos and some of them were so awful – chopping off some people’s heads and miles away from her subjects, and I thought, mmm, maybe not everyone can take good pictures. My best friend hates me telling that story…
LC: In the book, there’s a big dirty pile of potatoes picked right out of the ground. Are you still living in a place – farm-like – do you have your own little plot?
MM: No, I live in the city, in London, and those (potatoes) were grown by my husband in a small pot – in a small space, we don’t have a big garden. He just got into gardening, those were the first things he grew, so they needed to be in the book.
LC: Mary, do you still go to Dad’s shows? He’s always performing, what do you attribute that to?
MM: I love going to my dad’s shows. I attribute it to his passion for it. He loves it. It energizes him. I think it keeps him fresh and he enjoys it. He gets to travel and see different parts of the country and he loves that immediate feedback from the audience. It’s just the way he’s always done it. And he’s touring and gets that buzz from the audience, he just really seems to thrive on it. He loves it.
LC: Now where do you get to sit during the show?
MM: It depends, I usually am at the side door or I go to the sound desk, because that’s where the best sound is.
LC: Do you take photos of him still?
MM: Yes! He did an album last year called, Kisses On The Bottom, and I took pictures for that. And I just took the picture for his tour poster.
LC: Mary, you’re a delight – thank you so much.
MM: My pleasure, thank you.
-Lee Callahan, Jack Seattle