Articles / All the Goodness of Jane

All the Goodness of Jane

Published July 6, 2021

Jane Goodall on (not) eating animals, her work beyond chimps, and precisely why she’s so hopeful

I’m thrilled to tell you that this week’s episode of Food with Mark Bittman features the great Dr. Jane Goodall. Goodall is perhaps best known for her passion for wildlife and for traveling to Gombe, Tanzania, where she began her landmark study of chimpanzees in the wild — which redefined our understanding of the relationship between humans and other animals. She’s also the founder of The Jane Goodall Institute and a United Nations Messenger of Peace. Through her lifelong global advocacy, she has shaped attitudes and policies on human rights and the climate crisis. Some excerpts — and the recipes featured from the episode — are below. Please listen, subscribe, and review! And remember to call us on 833-FOODPOD with all your food-related questions.

Thank you, as always. — Mark

On the evolution of her work:

“Some people still think I’m only chimps; I’m the chimp lady. I’m much more than the chimp lady now. I left Gombe to protect the chimps and realized that you can’t protect the chimps unless you work with people, and alleviate poverty, try and stop corruption, reduce our own environmental footprint, all of these things.”

On how conservation efforts can succeed:

“Unless you involve the local people, whose land it really is, no conservation work will succeed. In the old way, the sort of colonial way, ‘Well, we want to protect this forest; oh we’ll move all the people out!’ So of course you build up resentment and anger, frustration, people lose their livelihoods — and that’s one of the reasons we have so much anger in the world today.”

On what makes her hopeful:

“What the youth are doing is incredibly hopeful. As I was traveling around the world, before the pandemic, everywhere I was meeting amazing people doing incredible projects — restoring fertility to overused farmland, like we did, around Gombe, restoring a forest — bringing back life and nature, to a place that we’ve destroyed. Rescuing animals from the brink of extinction. We’ve got this indomitable spirit, we’re going to tackle things that seem impossible, and we won’t give up. Nature is amazingly resilient if you give her a chance.”

The following recipes and headnotes are from the Jane Goodall Institute’s new book, #EATMEATLESS.

Grilled Squash and Orzo Salad with Pine Nuts

Serves: 4

Fire up the grill to make the most of seasonal summer squashes, which taste best with a kiss of smoke and sear. Look for the smallest ones you can find, and if you see some pattypans or unusual varieties of zucchini, try them grilled — you’ll love them. A grill basket can be very helpful for this dish, to prevent the squash slices from dropping into the fire. Use whole-grain orzo if you can find it.


  • 2 pounds mixed yellow squash and zucchini

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1/2 pound orzo

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint


1. Trim and cut the squash lengthwise into slices 1/4-inch thick. Place in a bowl and add 1/2 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Toss to coat.

2. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat. Grill the squash, turning once, until tender, 5–8 minutes total. Let cool and cut into 1½-inch pieces. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold running water.

4. Meanwhile, in a frying pan, toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat, stirring, until fragrant and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

5. Add the orzo to the bowl with the squash along with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the lemon juice, vinegar, and pine nuts, and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the mint and serve right away.

— Recipe from #EATMEATLESS by The Jane Goodall Institute

Pan-Seared Cauliflower with Garlic and Capers

Serves: 4

Cauliflower is part of the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage, broccoli, and kale. The vegetables are rich in sulforaphane, a plant chemical that is believed to have powerful health benefits. Cauliflower is a chameleon of sorts, depending on how you cook it, becoming deep and intense when seared and mild when boiled. Here you’ll blanch it to tenderize the sturdy florets, then sear it until the edges are nicely browned, for an intense flavor.


  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 1 ¼ pound)

  • 1 large carrot

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Trim the cauliflower and cut into 2-inch florets (you should have about 4 cups). Cut the carrot into diagonal slices. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the vegetables, stir, and cook until tender-crisp, about 1 minute. Drain and let cool.

2. In a large frying pan, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and carrot and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, capers, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are browned, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve right away.

— Recipe from #EATMEATLESS by The Jane Goodall Institute