Raw, adjective: 1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot.

Somehow I managed to miss the NYT Magazine's Food Issue a few weeks back, and along with it, Jonathan Safran Foer's excellent article offering his case for vegetarianism.

The piece is an excerpt from Foer's upcoming book, Eating Animals, and it's worth a few minutes of your time. In contrast with some of the irritatingly holier-than-thou veggie activists out there, Foer's writing translates as self-deprecating, funny, and refreshingly rational. He's self-aware in a defusing kind of way; even the committed meat-eater can read Foer's writing and relax, knowing that he doesn't have to feel attacked, that he's in sympathetic company. Foer writes from an admittedly ambivalent background; he acknowledges the reality of intangibles like taste, memory, and pleasure as challenges to the effort to go veg.

It's interesting to me that after years of wishy-washy flirtations with vegetarianism, it was the birth of Foer's first child that really brought him and his wife into a committed meat-free lifestyle. I'm not surprised. The swaggering faux-masculinity with which people usually boast of their meat obsessions strikes me as embarrassingly naive and unconsidered; the empty shell of a case for eating meat (taste! pleasure!) is quickly punctured when real-world considerations like the destruction of the environment and the consumption of feces and free drugs become realities in the lives of our own offspring.* Suddenly the idea that yer own kid might not have clean water or fresh air someday, or might be consuming cow shit or chicken brains, makes the reality hit home in a new way.

Read the article. It's as charming and non-combative a call to vegetarianism as you're going to find. I'm glad to call Foer a fellow comrade.

Against Meat (NYT Magazine)

*Matt Hearn, I still love you, in spite of - or perhaps because of - your unwavering commitment to bacon. And I don't think you're naive or unconsidered, though definitely a paragon of swaggering masculinity. (Duh.)


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