Meet Dr. Robin Ganzert: Animal Lover, Advocate, and Now, Cookbook Author
Animals have always been part of Dr. Robin Ganzert’s life. Growing up with horses, dogs, cats, and a menagerie of other animals, Dr. Ganzert quickly became passionate about protecting and preserving the remarkable species with whom we share Earth. In the fulfillment of that passion, she today serves as president and CEO of American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization and the largest in the world.
Dr. Ganzert has dramatically expanded the scope and scale of the organization’s programs globally, and has provided oversight for iconic humane programs, such as No Animals Were Harmed (which protects animals in film and entertainment) and American Humane Certified (which protects animals in agriculture). She launched a first-of-its-kind humane certification in global conservation for animals in zoos and aquariums, and an innovative humane certification effort for the airline industry that has dramatically improved the safety and protection of companion animals in transportation. Dr. Ganzert also created the Pups4Patriots™ program, which provides service dogs for wounded warriors facing post-traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Now, she's adding cookbook author to her list of accomplishments. The Humane Table: Cooking with Compassion features more than 35 delicious recipes for home chefs who are mindful about the welfare of animals. The recipes are constructed around the seasons-- summer, fall, winter, and spring--so that whether you are simmering a stew on a cold night or grilling out under balmy skies, you can set a humane table year-round. HRN fans can sample a couple fall dishes that will leave you wanting more like these Cranberry Almond Sour Cream Muffins or this Herb and Citrus Butter- Roasted Whole Turkey. Compassion and love are the ingredients for a humane table--a setting where American Humane's shared values of treating animals with kindness, respect, and dignity are truly celebrated. If you're a home chef who supports these same principles, The Humane Table is for you. Learn more and purchase the cookbook here.
HRN had the opportunity to ask Dr. Robin Ganzert about the book, its versatile recipes, and its spotlight on American Humane Certified farms.
HRN: As you say in the book, people have really shifted their relationship with food as a result of the pandemic. While more people are having meals at home, most folks remain more disconnected from the farming process than ever. How do you think American Humane and this cookbook help bridge that divide?
Dr. Robin Ganzert: Now, more than ever, people are conscious of both where their food comes from and how it was sourced. The Humane Table highlights those producers who meet our rigorous standards and care deeply about their animals’ welfare. This cookbook showcases the producers who are integral to the farming process and connects people directly to the source of their meals through mouth-watering recipes made from products that are American Humane Certified. The farms and ranches featured in the cookbook are the heartbeat of the farming process, and The Humane Table links people who love to cook with them.
HRN: The book has a real variety of recipes - there are dishes for all seasons, different courses, and there are vegetarian options in addition to meals with meat - how did you work to strike this balance?
Dr. Robin Ganzert: Just like people look to build a balanced meal, we wanted to craft a balanced cookbook that offers a variety of options no matter the season you’re in or the meal you’re planning. That’s why this cookbook features recipes for tastes that range across the spectrum, from vegetarian options to ones with proteins including chicken, turkey, fish, dairy and eggs. With so many American Humane Certified producers offering such an array of products, it was easy to strike this tasty and humane balance.
HRN: Can you share the story behind one of the book’s recipes? Whether it’s family heirloom, or the result of fresh inspiration.
Dr. Robin Ganzert: The delicious pork chops my mom used to make were one of my favorite family meals as a kid, so I think the herbed pork chops recipe is one of my most treasured in the whole cookbook. It reminds me of those simple yet tasty meals my mother used to cook for us so many years ago and takes me back to my youth. The array of herbs in this recipe combine for an aromatic and flavorful marinade that makes this a hearty classic and brings back so many wonderful memories of my childhood. I now cook this meal for my own children and get to pass down this tradition to my family just like my mom did for me. That recipe remains a favorite in my household, and I am proud to share it with the rest of the world.
HRN: How are you sourcing humanely for the holidays? And how do you share the story and sourcing behind a special meal with your guests?
Dr. Robin Ganzert: Everything featured in my holiday menu this year will be American Humane Certified, and that’s the easiest and most effective way to set a humane table this holiday season. If you see the American Humane Certified seal on your food packaging, you can be sure that the producer you’re purchasing from is committed to the well-being and humane treatment of their animals through an independent, third-party evaluation process that is both evidence-based and grounded in scientific research. Be it a beautiful Butterball roasted turkey at the center of my meal or a flavorsome individualized carrot cake to end it, my holiday guests will be satisfied knowing the meal they’re eating has been sourced humanely.
HRN: It was great to see interviews with family farmers and a comprehensive list of American Humane Certified producers in the book. What does your relationship with these famers look like? What has their feedback on the book been?
Dr. Robin Ganzert: I’m extremely passionate in my support for America’s farmers and ranchers because they are the ones who provide meals to all of us each and every day. My respect and admiration for these heroic Americans is why we developed the American Humane Certified program. Our organization started this initiative 20 years ago to help even more people, not only make humane choices, but also instill pride for those producers who do right by the animals in their care. During my tenure at American Humane, this program has grown to include farms and ranches across the globe. The feedback about The Humane Table from our American Humane Certified producers has been so heartening. These people are the backbone of our farm program and are the No. 1 reason why we are able to help ensure the humane treatment of more than one billion animals across this great country today.