Not so long ago, there was a certain image associated with being vegetarian. It usually involved Birkenstocks, lentil loaf and an agenda.
There still are plenty of all three in the meatless movement, but a growing number of Americans are finding they can have cauliflower and kale at the center of the plate without a side of ideology.
That's because at the same time people are eating less meat, vegetables have gained respect as worthy ingredients in their own right, not just as the garnish for a steak. And perhaps most telling, the word “vegetarian” has moved from the center of cookbook covers to the margins, if it's seen at all.
“I've always struggled with the ‘vegetarian' label,” says Deborah Madison, whose cookbook “Vegetable Literacy” (Ten Speed Press, 2013) is the most recent in her 30-year career of writing about vegetables. “When I began writing, it was so much about a lifestyle. You were or you weren't, and people didn't cross that line.”