Searching for food joy (for the whole family)


Do you think the internet is good for humanity? Big question, I know, especially this early in the week, but it’s something my husband and I have been debating a bit lately.

Generally I think the internet is awesome. All that accessible knowledge. So many ways to open your mind, connect with people and experience worlds that were beyond us just 15 years ago. What a shame then, that so much of the internet tends to be a place of pointless extremes, dominated by violence, pictures of Kardashians, cats and people hating on one another. The intolerance and abuse from people hiding behind screens can be mind-boggling.

I cop a bit of hate myself. My website and my food philosophy aren’t extreme enough for many folks online. Breaking some of the current healthy eating taboos, I admit to eating all kinds of ‘poison’. A bit of sugar. A bit of gluten. Often I eat just for fun, rather than taking a strict nutritarian stance and quite often, I eat meat.

Usually I suck it up and take the abuse with a grain of salt – admiring the vehemence with which my various e-pen-pals argue their causes. Their devotion and commitment to a single philosophy does impress me and sometimes I worry that my laissez-faire attitude needs to be tightened up a little. But last week I was reading, “14 Habits of People with a healthy relationship to food“. Turns out I have nearly all of these habits. The one that particularly jumped out was, “swear by everything in moderation.”


And that’s me. I swear by everything in moderation and I keep food in perspective. No amount of kale can replace a glass of wine (and laughs) shared with good friends. And how lucky we are to live in such an affluent society that this whole food debate is even possible.

So here’s the thing. I’m not a gluten free site, although often my recipes happen to be gluten-free. If I have GF suggestions, I’ll list it in the recipe. And if I don’t, possibly you’ll have to come up with your own substitution, or skip the recipe and find something else to make.

I’m not a dairy-free site. Although I am personally lactose-intolerant. Many of my recipes ARE dairy-free and dairy-free substitutes are pretty easy to manage.

I do cook with eggs and nuts. If you’re dealing with a nut allergy, you’ll have to skip those recipes rather than emailing me demanding a nut-free version. If you’re wanting to swap out eggs, here’s a good article here to give you a range of options.

I do cook with meat.

As a 41-year-old educated woman, I’ve made that choice. I understand the ethical, environmental and health implications of my choice. There’s no need to try to convert me. The irony is not lost on me that the most abusive messages I receive are from people trying to protect animals from violence. Perhaps the animal-advocates should quit using that tactic – save the abuse and instead just seduce me with links to vegetarian fare that I can’t resist. Because, actually, I eat vegetarian food all the time. I love the creativity and diversity of it. Lots of recipes on this site ARE vegetarian, including these falafel burgers, which just happen to be egg-free and suitable for vegans, too. There’s no dairy and I’m offering some GF suggestions (although I’ve not tested them). They’re high fibre and easy to make.

Despite all that, I eat these burgers because my whole family thinks they’re delicious and they fit in perfectly with my extreme food philosophy of moderationarianism.

Something for everyone.

Something for everyone.

Falafel burgers

1 piece sliced bread (or about 1 cup of GF breadcrumbs)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
handful of parsley (optional)
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 small red onion
1 carrot, roughly chopped
juice of Β½ lemon
ΒΌ cup plain flour (I’ve not tried, but I strongly suspect that besan flour would be perfect here)
oil spray
bread rolls (obviously optional – use a GF wrap if you prefer), salad and barbecue sauce (also optional – a bit of plain yoghurt would also do), to serve

Use a food processor or mini-processor for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Blitz the bread, garlic, spices and parsley together to make flavoured breadcrumbs. Place in a large bowl.

Pulse the chickpeas to a paste and add to the bowl. Repeat, using the pulse function to chop the onion then the carrot. Drizzle the lemon juice over and mix in well. Sprinkle over the flour and use your hands to combine.

Shape the mixture into eight equal patties. Place on the baking tray, spray with oil and bake for 25 minutes, carefully turning once during cooking.

Serve on rolls with salad and barbecue sauce.

29 Responses so far »

  1. 1 said,

    I love your articles, they are awesome and so are you for not pretending and preaching to all of us! Love your recipes too by the way:)

    From an ex-extremists with very fussy kids who love your recipes too!

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. 3

    Kerri said,

    Well said Wendy. Thank you

  3. 4

    Kath said,

    Here here. This is coming from a vegetarian with a meat eating husband who loves cooking for all of my family … When they eat it …. It
    Must be bloody rough being subject to all the backlash but keep up the massive effort. For every winger there is someone dancing in the back with Pom poms very greatful for your efforts and passion. Thank you!

  4. 6

    A great post Wendy. So often the ‘moderation’ message gets lost in many areas of our lives, including food. I am looking forward to trying this recipe too. I may have to work hard to convince hubby to try them but if I make them into mini meatballs I am sure my daughters will give them a go.

  5. 8

    Suzanne said,

    I wholeheartedly agree! I stumbled across a blog via facebook called Fearless Feeding, which I’m a huge fan of & now like to think of as our philosophy for family eating. We aim to eat a good variety of wholefoods, eat vegetarian & often raw regularly through the week, and bake biscuits, chocolate cake & all kinds of not so healthy goodies too.
    I often work with people to help them get past food intolerances, & it’s amazing how much impact fear has on the body’s ability to digest & make use of food. It worries me that I see so many restrictions in kids these days – I really hope they get to learn healthy eating with a fearless attitude!
    I love your recipes, and your attitude – don’t let other people’s philosophies or fears impact you negatively – so many of us would miss your sharing! x

  6. 10

    Liz said,

    Hi Wendy, I love your website and articles. Glad to say that I am also an advocate of the moderationarianism movement, I have to be with 3 fussy children.

  7. 12

    Bonita said,

    *standing ovation*

  8. 15

    Mel said,

    Haaaaahh… another refreshing article. Whenever I have a whinging mum about her kids fuzziness I refer her here… Everybody just chill’!
    Love it.. thanks & keep going!

  9. 16

    Julia said,

    What a breath of fresh air!! Common sense reigns!!! I say lets form the RMM (“Radical” Moderationariansim Movement) πŸ™‚ Great article (and recipes) as always Wendy!

  10. 18

    Mel said,

    Love your work Wendy… I particularly love the fact that you talk common sense (and the odd glass of wine!) and don’t get on all the fashionable food bandwagons which seem to have very little basis in science, fact or holistic health (which includes mental health!). As a GP I have even referred patients here for help with ideas for feeding tricky kids. I think you are a voice of reason and clarity in an internet crowded with crackpots! Keep it up and don’t let the naysayers get you down.

  11. 19

    Megan said,

    What a great read, thank you. I have been lost for inspiration cooking healthy meals for my 5 and 3 year old who are both slightly underweight. I wouldn’t say they are fussy, just small eaters and usually get board and not interested in sitting still long enough to finish dinner. I’ve been working through your recipes and so happy they are eating everything off their plates! Brilliant thank you so much for such great recipes πŸ™‚

  12. 21

    rooey5 said,

    These look delicious! For gluten free people, Coles has PureBred which is quite yummy. They do buns and loaves. For people in and around Geelong, try The Healthy Loaf (available from their bakery or lots of health food stores).

    • 22

      wendyblume said,

      Thanks for that! I’m always totally stoked when people have their own useful info to share, rather than expecting me to do all the research for them! x

  13. 23

    Melissa said,

    Well said – I am a fellow moderationalist and also enjoy eating meat which i do my best to source from the most ethically and environmentally friendly sources πŸ˜‰

  14. 24

    Jess said,

    Thanks so very much for you. Just you. You are brilliant. Thank you again.

  15. 25

    katie p said,

    another beautifully put article… i love the everything in moderation stance (although i do have a naughty relationship with sugar that i probably attempt to curb… right after i finish these chicos…) which is why you are my favourite blog to follow. oh, that and the rude jokes and sarcastic wit. let the haters hate, we love ya (in a weird internet stalker kinda way…. ok so maybe the internet is not such a great idea) πŸ™‚

    ps made your herby meatloaf for dinner last night and was even more of a vegie smuggler than your recipe suggested as i added in a stack of vegies finely chopped with my stick blender – another epic success, but i don’t expect anything less when i’m using your recipes!

  16. 26

    Jo said,

    Please continue to ignore those that are intolerant. Your website is wonderful and I for one, am very happy to make adjustments to your recipes, if needed, to fit my dietary quirks. Keep up the fabulous work πŸ™‚

  17. 27

    Claire B said,

    This is why I love your blog, books, recipes etc. I have read some of the other more extreme blogs, but I always end up feeling inadequate because I can’t keep up, can’t afford the fancy superfood ingredients and because my family simply won’t eat a lot of it (as much the husband as the kids). Your recipes and philosophy fit in with my own, eat well, but don’t leave out the treats or get too evangelical or uptight about it all. That I can do and still feel like I am doing a decent job of it all.

  18. 28

    OmNomNom said,

    As a peaceful longtime vegetarian, I find it sad to read you experience vegetarians as your most abusive audience. In complete opposition to what you’re saying, in my almost two decades of vegetarianism I am still baffled at the aggression directed towards me, verbally and non-verbally, by those who choose to eat meat. I don’t try to convert, and rarely discuss my dietary choice. Most realise I’m vegetarian after eating with me and hearing me order from the menu. At which point, I can be met with anything from agreeance to curiousity to offensive comments for the rest of the night after an hour of being berated by some idiot whose ego thinks that my dietary decision has anything to do with them, and that it is some derogatory comment regarding what’s on their plate. What you eat is your decision. I have more pressing things to think about then what you digest. *sigh* Anyway, thanks for awesome recipes and food ideas. And one of the perks of being an experienced vego, is that I usually have the skills and brains to come up with substitutes myself when I come across a delish-sounding meaty dish. Even vegos can be moderationists too.

    • 29

      wendyblume said,

      I love you and your insightful and thoughtful comment omnomnom. Food evangelism in any form is pretty trying, isn’t it. wishing you all the best. x

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