Lauri Sturdivant is interested in how our friends and families gather around a table sharing meals and telling stories. In this column she shares recipes and stories from people in Siskiyou County, and restaurant reviews from her travels. Read full interviews, find recipes and reviews at TheBillPlate.com. If you’re interested in sponsoring this column call (530) 842-5777 or (530) 926-5214.

Meatless Monday is now a worldwide practice that originated during World War I. President Herbert Hoover’s rally cry, “Food Will Win the War” was a call for Americans to participate in Meatless Mondays and Wheatless Wednesdays. Europe was devastated after years of war and food became increasingly scarce. Men were fighting the war leaving woman, children and the elderly to farm what land was not a battlefield. Over 13 million patriotic Americans pledged to cut back their consumption of meat and wheat flour. This action allowed the United States to ship 120 million bushels of wheat to Europe; six times its usual amount shipped in a year. The program was revived during WWII, again, to support the war efforts.

In 2003, without any connection to a military conflict, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for a Livable Future brought back Meatless Mondays to encourage healthier eating habits. Meatless Monday is now a global movement practiced in over 40 countries. The message is simple: one day a week, cut out the meat.

Cutting back on meat can be good for your health, wallet and the environment. Swapping meat for plant proteins, like beans or meat substitutes, can lower your food budget. It also reduces your carbon footprint, water usage and fuel dependence.

Participating in Meatless Monday is simple action you can do that has a big impact. I believe one person can make a difference and that little things add up to big things. If everyone in the United States participated in a meatless day, the greenhouse gasses produced would be cut by 22 percent.

Suggestions for Meatless Monday Meals include veggie or cheese pizza, chili relleno, cheese enchiladas, lentil or tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich, vegetable stir fry with tofu or shrimp, spaghetti with marinara or pesto, or one of my favorites, breakfast for dinner serving eggs and pancakes with a meatless sausage.

For more information and meatless recipes visit www.thebillplate.com and www.meatlessmonday.com/

NOTE: Many thanks to Kathleen Herihy. She made Linda Price’s New York Cheesecake and found the directions had omitted that the sour cream should be added with the lemon. The directions have been corrected in the recipe on www.TheBillPlate.com