On vegetarianism

lisa-simpson-vegetarian2I’m no vegetarian. I’ve confessed my love of meat before, not as virtue but simply a fact of preference and of my complete inability to conceive of a meatless kitchen.

Ten years ago I read a thoughtful but unconvincing book on the theology of vegetarianism. The argument was that a vegetarian diet is God’s plan for humankind and that my surrender to that truth is part and parcel of my full conversion:  ‘Clearly, carnivorous eating is a mockery of all that God works toward and desires.’

With apologies to all of my more virtuous friends, I couldn’t come at it then and I can’t now. My grease smeared fingers are well and truly in my ears. I’ve decided to like Adam Gopnik’s perspective instead:

‘Evangelical vegetarianism … is closer to the Shaker prohibition on sex that it is to the abolitionist war on slavery: it does not ask us to be better than we have been. It asks us to be other than we are.’

Adam Gopnik, The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food, London: Quercus, 2011, 136.




  • Thanks Simon! I’m a dietitian specialising in geriatrics and older people especially need the protein, the readily available iron, zinc and vitamin B12 meat supplies. Vegetarianism makes ageing successfully and independently far more difficult. Great to read your take on it. Ngaire Hobbins

    • Thank you Ngaire. I wish I could download your expertise! I have to speak at a national dementia conference in Sydney later this year on food, spirituality and ageing. It’s a fascinating field, but the more I read the more I feel my ineptitude. Thanks for dropping by.

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