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PRUE LEITH: “Eating as a family is the glue that keeps society together”

We catch up with the author and chef following the release of her new family-inspired cookbook, The Vegetarian Kitchen

PRUE LEITH: “Eating as a family is the glue that keeps society together”

Prue leith on...

Eating as a family

Eating as a family or community is the glue that keeps society together. For generations, we’ve always eaten together. But today, so many people are eating in the street, eating alone in their bedrooms while looking at a screen, or even sitting with their family... but on a sofa watching telly. I think that we really throw out communal eating at great peril; we lose the ability to talk to each other, and to enjoy each other’s company.

Her new cookbook

Originally, The Vegetarian Kitchen wasn’t going to be a veggie book, it was going to be our favourite family recipes. Half of the recipes would be Peta’s, and half would be mine. Her favourite recipes were, of course, veggie, because she’s vegetarian, but when I wrote down my favourites, it turned out these were veggie, too. So, we thought let’s do a vegetarian book – and I love it.

On working with her niece

In the beginning, I had this idea that because she was a top pastry chef, Peta would want to do very fancy food. I love eating in nice restaurants, but I don’t want to cook that type of food myself. I thought I would do all of the apple crumbles, ratatouilles and homely dishes, and she would do all of the fancy desserts that look as if they’ve been put together with tweezers. But to my delight, she didn’t want to cook like that at all! She has two young children, and a hearty eater as a husband, so these dishes are very much family food.

Creating vegan dishes

I’m of a generation where we’d hardly heard of the word ‘vegan’ until a few years ago. I do rather admire vegans, and there are a lot of vegan dishes in our cookbook. Where we can, we suggest where you can make a dish vegan without losing the flavour, because it has to taste great.

Inspiring fellow foodies

I’d like readers who pick up The Vegetarian Kitchen to be ‘non-cooks’, or people who are nervous about cooking. I like to say that if you can read, you can cook. All that I ask is that you are totally obedient; that you do what the recipe says. What I’m proud about with my recipes, and it certainly goes for Peta’s as well, is that if you do what the recipe says, it’ll work.

The Vegetarian Kitchen by Prue Leith and Peta Leith is on sale now (Bluebird, £25).

Inspired to get cooking? Try Prue and Peta recipes today: choose from Vegetarian Kedgeree, Vegan Black Bean Chilli, and Vegan Fragrant Laksa.

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