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Becoming veggie was – and still is – hugely important to me and my family and I can’t believe how much things have changed since we first gave up meat. Back in the day, vegetarians were viewed as a bit weird, and what veggie food you could find was stodgy and boring.

Today, plant-based eating is massive and it’s all about going vegan, not just vegetarian. I know that if Linda was with us now, she would love this plant-based revolution, and that’s why we decided to take a fresh look at her legacy and her recipes and produce this book.

So why did our family decide to become vegetarian all that time ago? Linda and her family had always eaten meat and I’d been brought up on very traditional British food.

The centre of a meal in our house when I was growing up was meat – a chop, maybe, or a couple of sausages – with some potatoes and perhaps a bit of veg on the side, and I continued to eat meat as an adult. But one day, Linda and I were having Sunday lunch with the family at our farm in Scotland and gazing out of the window at the baby lambs in the fields nearby.   We were saying how cute and beautiful they were, then we looked at our plates. We were eating leg of lamb. We were eating one of those little things running around happily outside. That was the turning point for us and that’s how it all started.

For Linda, being vegetarian was first and foremost an act of kindness and compassion – it was about the animals. Any animal we saw, she would love – even a creepy little frog. In fact, one of the things we always shared was a huge passion for nature.

Our children were all quite young at the time, but we sat them down and talked about it. Our daughter Mary remembers Linda and I saying that we’d decided not to eat meat because we didn’t want anything to suffer to be on our plate.

We told the kids that they didn’t have to become vegetarian too, but we wouldn’t be cooking meat at home any more. It was fine – there wasn’t any resentment.  No one found it difficult. There was a near glitch a while later when we were on holiday in the Caribbean and we went to a barbecue.

The kids were saying, ‘Daddy, there’s chicken. Can we have chicken?’ And we said, ‘Yeah, try it. But remember it’s those birds we have in the yard at home.’

They ate some chicken and didn’t like it. That was a blessing. And to this day, all the children – and their children – are vegetarian.

At first, the thing for us was working out what we were going to eat, now that there was what we called that ‘hole on the plate’ where the meat used to be. We had lots of fun thinking up new dishes.  No one found it difficult. There was a near glitch a while later when we were on holiday in the Caribbean and we went to a barbecue.

The kids were saying, ‘Daddy, there’s chicken. Can we have chicken?’ And we said, ‘Yeah, try it. But remember it’s those birds we have in the yard at home.’

They ate some chicken and didn’t like it. That was a blessing. And to this day, all the children – and their children – are vegetarian.

At first, the thing for us was working out what we were going to eat, now that there was what we called that ‘hole on the plate’ where the meat used to be. We had lots of fun thinking up new dishes.
Then Christmas came. Obviously, we didn’t want to kill a turkey, so Linda came up with a brilliant idea – macaroni turkey! We made a big mound of mac ’n’ cheese, left it to cool, then sliced it so it took the place of turkey on the plate. Then we added all the trimmings – roast potatoes, cranberry sauce and so on.

Linda cooked them all amazingly, of course. Also, having the macaroni ‘turkey’ still allowed me that traditional male role of carver.

I wanted to do that because it was the tradition. I wasn’t being sexist. I just liked the idea, and it didn’t matter to me that I was slicing mac ’n’ cheese, not a turkey.

What’s more, everything that Linda cooked was delicious; her main aim was always to make food taste great. That was important, because if a veggie meal wasn’t that good, you might ask yourself: But why should I be veggie? This was never a problem for us.
The idea of starting a food company came later on. We’d be travelling back from Scotland to London or somewhere and would find ourselves hungry, so we’d call in at a stop-off. But there would never be much for us to eat.

It was the same everywhere. Even in London I can only recall one vegetarian restaurant – Cranks. Just the name tells you what most people thought about vegetarian cooking at that time!

So, Linda decided to do something about it. She said, ‘Being compassionate means we’ll be saving animals. If we make burgers out of plants, lots of cows will be saved.’

The business became very successful, but Linda wasn’t in it for the money. She wanted to do some good and to help people get into vegetarian eating.

Parents would write to her, saying that their children wanted to go veggie and they didn’t know what to give them to eat. Linda’s burgers and sausages helped them fill that gap where the meat had been.
Once Linda had the food business it was a natural follow-on for her to do a cookbook and she wrote her first one, Home Cooking, with food writer Peter Cox. It was fun to do, but for Peter the problem was that when he’d come to the house to watch Linda cook, she’d be putting in a bit of this and a bit of that and he had to keep stopping her to ask about weights and measures.

She was such an instinctive cook. She’d had no training and had just learned by hanging out in the kitchen as a kid and watching the family’s cook prepare meals.

She just made what she liked to eat, and she wasn’t afraid to experiment and try new things. Having to measure stuff was quite frustrating for her, but she did it because she wanted to spread the word.

Linda was very good at talking about being vegetarian. If we were at a dinner and someone was eating meat, she might call them out on it – but in a charming way. I couldn’t do that. If I tried, it would get a bit messy and awkward. Linda was forthright, yet had the knack of persuading people gracefully and gently. The last thing we ever wanted to do was to alienate anyone by lecturing them, and Linda never did that.

She had something magical. She was one of the pioneers of vegetarianism and the movement today owes a lot to her.

In 2006, eight years after Linda had died, I read a report from the United Nations. It was called Livestock’s Long Shadow, and one of the things it revealed was that the livestock industry releases more greenhouse gases than transport does.

Up until then I’d always thought transport was the big thing, but of course the livestock industry involves transport anyway. This added a great bonus to being vegetarian – I realised that not only was it about compassion and saving animals but also saving yourself, your kids, your grandkids; saving the world. Up until then my feelings about vegetarianism were more about the animals, but after reading that report I realised there was more to it. There will be a huge ecological benefit if we change the way we eat and this is becoming more urgent by the day.

So, the last chapter of our story was meat-free Monday – a campaign to raise awareness of the incredible impact of animal agriculture on the world. I’d heard of the idea, which was already in existence in the US, and thought: Wow, we should do that.  Mary, Stella and I got together a bunch of people and started to campaign and it really interested everyone. People who felt they couldn’t go totally veggie thought: Yeah, I could do that for a day, that’s doable.

And that’s what we were aiming for. We didn’t want people to think that eating less meat was too difficult. The word went around and it all started to happen without us having to be militant about it.

The thing I love now is that the vegetarian and vegan movement has taken on a momentum of its own, and I observe it with joy. The last time I was in New York, I went with my wife Nancy and her son – who is not a vegetarian – to a restaurant run by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a really famous chef. He has a renowned restaurant called ABC Kitchen, and now, right next door, he has opened a superb vegetarian/vegan place – ABCV. It was like I was in heaven.

The crowd in there was very cool – lots of young people and you felt you were among friends. The waiters were super friendly and helpful, and the food was amazing.

I said to Nancy and Arlen that they couldn’t know how incredible all this felt for me – that this was happening. I met the chef and he was adamant that the future is plant-based. I’m so glad he’s saying that.

All the research says you can feed 20 times the number of people if you eat plant food direct instead of through an animal. So that’s it – it’s fantastic.

True to Linda’s stance, veggie food and vegan food are now everywhere, even in fast-food chains. I read somewhere that Burger King do a ‘beyond meat burger’ that outsells the regular burger and I like that because if there’s business sense behind the movement, it will continue. It’s not elitist.

We love to remember and promote Linda’s work. We’ve done this with her photography and now the time has come to take a fresh look at her cooking legacy and her recipes.  As a family, we are guardians of her food brand, Linda McCartney Foods, which is proudly entering its 30th year.

Linda was never one to get stuck in a rut and, if she was cooking today, she would be so thrilled to see all the great ingredients that are now so readily available – things like quinoa, tofu and so on.

She would love all the ranges of plant-based products like oat milk and yoghurt, non-dairy butter and cheese, plant-based ice cream – cooking has become a whole different world.

Being vegetarian and vegan is so easy now and so rewarding; and Linda was one of the pioneers who led to this. I’m so proud of her and all that she did. As chef Jean-Georges said: The future of food is plant-based and that, for me, is a cause for great celebration.
  Extracted from Linda McCartney’s Family Kitchen by Linda McCartney with Paul, Mary & Stella McCartney.
Published by Seven Dials on 24 June. Pre-order: HERE. 



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Linda McCartney Retrospective Opens in 4 days.
08 Aug 2020—01 Nov 2020

This major exhibition of Linda McCartney’s photography includes more than 200 iconic images, from the music scene of the 1960s, to family life with Paul.

The Exhibition

In 2020 the Walker Art Gallery will host a major retrospective of Linda McCartney’s photography. From her iconic depictions of the music scene of the 1960s, to family life with Paul, Linda captured her whole world on film.

The exhibition features more than 200 extraordinary images that reveal what a prolific photographer Linda was, and how her love for the natural world, her surreal sense of humour, and an exceptional eye for capturing the spontaneous, gave her work an inimitable style.

The exhibition will include a selection of images taken in Liverpool and on the Wirral which have never been on public display before.

Image: © Paul McCartney


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Linda McCartney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, and her condition soon grew worse when the cancer metastasized to her liver. She died at the age of 56 on April 17, 1998, at the McCartney family ranch in Tucson, Arizona. Her family was with her when she died.

She was cremated in Tucson, and her ashes were scattered at the McCartney farm in Sussex, England. Her husband later suggested that fans remember her by donating to breast cancer research charities that do not support animal testing, “or the best tribute – go veggie.” A memorial service was held for her at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, which was attended by George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Billy Joel, Elton John, David Gilmour, Peter Gabriel, and other celebrities among a congregation of 700. A memorial service was also held at Riverside Church in Manhattan, two months after her death. “She was my girlfriend,” McCartney said at her funeral. “I lost my girlfriend.”

She left all her property to Paul, including royalties from books or records, and all rights to her photos. He has pledged to continue her line of vegetarian food, and to keep it free from genetically modified organisms.

A few months after her death, the Edinburgh International Film Festival premiered Wide Prairie, a six-minute cartoon fantasy film she made with director Oscar Grillo.

In April 1999, Paul McCartney performed at the “Concert for Linda” tribute at the Royal Albert Hall, which had been organized by two of their friends, Chrissie Hynde and Carla Lane.

Among the artists that performed, besides Paul, were George Michael, the Pretenders, Elvis Costello, Tom Jones and Neil Finn.

Paul closed the concert by dedicating the event to Linda, whom he called his “beautiful baby,” and their children.

In January 2000, Paul announced donations in excess of $2,000,000 for cancer research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, where Linda received treatment.

The donations, through the Garland Appeal, were made on the condition that no animals would be used for testing purposes.

Also in 2000, The Linda McCartney Centre, a cancer clinic, opened at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

In November 2002, the Linda McCartney Kintyre Memorial Trust opened a memorial garden in Campbeltown, the main town in Kintyre, with a bronze statue of her made by her cousin, sculptor Jane Robbins.


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The exhibition at C/O Berlin presents over 250 Polaroids and a selection of vintage prints taken from her archive with many of the Polaroids dating back to the 1970s Opening 06/03/2020

“She ́d always just be looking for everyday moments that interested her rather than manicured scenes. She wanted real moments.” – Mary McCartney

The Polaroids ,a selection of vintage prints taken from her archive with many of the Polaroids dating back to the 1970s when instant photography was a new innovation, an innovation Linda McCartney was keen to test the boundaries

The Polaroids on display are an intimate collection and insight into Linda’s memories and visualeye with each image unique to a specific moment in time and space. Linda McCartney. The Polaroid Diaries – exemplifies her gift for capturing the moment and is published by Taschen.

The exhibition, put together by Paul, and the couple’s children Stella and Mary, will include a number of images taken at the family home at High Park Farm in Campbeltown, which McCartney bought try to protect his earnings from the taxman.

Photographing some incredibly talented people such as Aretha Franklin, The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Twiggy, Linda made history when her portrait of Eric Clapton became the first Rolling Stone cover shot by a woman.
Her photographs have been displayed in more than 50 exhibitions worldwide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In 1992 a book, Sixties: Portrait Of An Era, was published.