one on one
BY Chris Mann
This actress stays true to her heartland roots
Off the set of her CBS-TV comedy series Rules of Engagement, you’ll likely find Megyn Price cultivating her extensive herb and vegetable garden and adding to her collection of veg recipes, which she’s compiling into a cookbook. “To me, cooking vegetarian is an expression of love. It’s saying, I’m taking care of my family. I’m taking care of myself. I’m taking care of animals that aren’t being killed,” she says. “A cookbook is about sharing the joy of that.”
Q: How did the birth of your daughter, Grace, four years ago, affect your diet?
A: I’d already started eating less and less meat, and then my daughter popped out of the womb a vegetarian. Because of her I stopped cooking meat. She wouldn’t eat it. So she sort of turned me. The final straw was reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals. He’s not preachy, but he definitely doesn’t pull any punches.
Q: Have your country roots influenced your gardening?
A: My mom was my first inspiration. She heard that if you planted hot peppers next to your tomatoes, the bugs wouldn’t eat the tomatoes. There’s an organic gardening idea right there! I remember when I was a little kid my mom gave my brother and me our own little patch and said, “You can plant whatever you want.” I grew peas because I hated peas. My mom told me, “If you grow peas, you will not hate peas.” And I realized that what I hated was frozen peas cooked within an inch of mush. But peas out of the ground I loved!
Q: This year you’re preparing a totally veg Thanksgiving meal for your omnivore relatives. What might be on the menu?
A: I like to bake a sourdough rye-buckwheat bread, and then toast that for breadcrumbs to use in a sage stuffing. I also make a killer lentil salad; it has all these vibrant, crunchy vegetables in it. And my walnut–green apple salad has become my favorite thing in the universe.
Q: You lobbied for Meatless Mondays on the set of Rules of Engagement. What happened with that?
A: I had to fight to get the producers to go along with it. I was so excited. I put up all these signs and posters to let people know what was going on and encourage them. Some people actually got angry. But there were many more people who came up to me and said it was delicious, and a great thing.
Q: What keeps you grounded as an Oklahoma girl in Hollywood?
A: Definitely home. I’m happiest in my cutoff shorts in my garden. As an actress starting out in my 20s, I thought I had to be skinny, and I was so scared of food. And a really good friend said, “Plant a garden. Because once you do you will have such respect and joy and love for the miracle that is food.” I feel like my garden cures me.
Freelance writer Chris Mann grew up watching sitcoms in his boyhood home in rural Oklahoma.