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Food Foto Fakery Found: Floravores Furious
April 14, 2011 8:36 AM   Subscribe

VegNews, the vegan lifestyle magazine, regularly publishes recipes for vegan dishes, with accompanying food-porn photos. Yesterday, VegNews was revealed to be using stock photos of actual meat dishes to represent their vegan analogues. Vegans are, understandably, appalled. But in an industry where deceptive food photography is customary, is authenticity of food illlustration a valid concern?
posted by Pants McCracky (162 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Beef stock photos?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:38 AM on April 14, 2011 [36 favorites]


But in an industry where deceptive food photography is customary, is authenticity of food illlustration a valid concern?

You can use mash potato for ice cream, and you can spay baby oil on the veggies. But dear god, no, you cannot use meat in a veggie magazine.
posted by londonmark at 8:41 AM on April 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


They weren't intended to be factual photos.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:43 AM on April 14, 2011 [37 favorites]


But you can use a meat substitute that tastes like real meat ?

/tempest teapot.
posted by k5.user at 8:43 AM on April 14, 2011


I like how the mac and cheese comparison photo just has a big "FUCKED UP" stuck on it. I kinda wish the New York Times had that kind of crazed insistence in their photojournalism.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:43 AM on April 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


Every person gets not the magazine that they want, but the magazine that they deserve.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:44 AM on April 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Those aren't even particularly appetizing photos, meat or no. The tomato slice on that burger is straight up depressing.
posted by theodolite at 8:45 AM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Vegans are, understandably, appalled

I thought that was their default state.
posted by turaho at 8:45 AM on April 14, 2011 [95 favorites]


This isn't as much a furor about deceptive photo practices - instead, it's that exploiting animals runs counter to the ethical stance of most vegans. undoubtedly other groups of humans organized around an ideology would be offended if a magazine catered to them, using techniques that were opposed to their beliefs.
posted by dubold at 8:45 AM on April 14, 2011 [17 favorites]


/tempeh teapot
posted by hawthorne at 8:45 AM on April 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


I should have added, did they at least use disclaimers saying "serving suggestion" or "picture enlarged to show texture" like every other sneaky food presentation does ?
posted by k5.user at 8:45 AM on April 14, 2011


But you can use a meat substitute that tastes like real meat ?

What's your point?
posted by londonmark at 8:46 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I imagine vegan stock photos are hard or impossible to find, particularly in every iteration you need for a food magazine. Unless its readers ecpect to pay a higher subsciption rate so the magazine can hire food photographers to mock up and photograph actual vegan dishes matching the articles, I'm not sure what their readers expect.

I assume the recipes are decent and, in fact, vegan... or their readers would be more angry about that. If their were vegan stock photos available, I'm sure the magazine would be happy to oblige. There just aren't. And not every niche magazine can afford food stylists and photographers of their own.
posted by gilrain at 8:46 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, killing animals to take pictures of them is OK with (some) vegans but it isn't ok to eat them. How is this different then trophy hunting?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:47 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I laughed.

Does that make me a bad person?
posted by pharm at 8:48 AM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have it on good authority that it's the stock photo companies that lie when they say they're selling pictures of "real food."
posted by Floydd at 8:48 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]




I'm not a vegan, by a long shot, but I would cancel my subscription to VegNews for using crappy stock photos to illustrate recipes, regardless of the meat content. Seriously: if you can't be arsed to MAKE the recipe, then I can't either.

Obvious stock photos, and poor Photoshoppery is something of a favor. I'm going to be disappointed when the world wises up.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:48 AM on April 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


Because when I copy your fake vegan magazine picture you are not deprived of it, but when I steal your hunting trophy you are indeed deprived of it.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:48 AM on April 14, 2011


Do you like looking at pictures of meat? How about a juicy beef burger, covered in egg mayonnaise with cow fat dripping off? Perhaps some soft, meaty chunks of chicken breast in chicken stock and cream? What about a pork sausage, oozing in pig fat, fresh from the slaughterhouse?

Oh, god, stop it, you're making me hungry!
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:48 AM on April 14, 2011 [33 favorites]


I'm not a vegetarian by any sane definition, but I do subscribe to Vegetarian Times (which, aside from the unrelenting advertisements for dietary supplements, has some great recipes).

And yes, I would be upset if I found out that they didn't even attempt to show an image that's related to the recipe. I would probably unsubscribe for the same reason dirtdirt mentions - why should I buy their magazine if all the content is already free through stockphoto.com?

Unless its readers ecpect to pay a higher subsciption rate so the magazine can hire food photographers to mock up and photograph actual vegan dishes matching the articles

Yes, I expect my food magazine to mock up and photograph the actual recipes they are producing.
posted by muddgirl at 8:50 AM on April 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


In the future, we will all eat the paper depictions of food we want, infused with SoyaLent of various colors.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:51 AM on April 14, 2011


Are there really vegetarians and vegans who use phrases like 'oozing with pig fat' and 'real cow’s milk, pulled painfully from their sore and tender udders'?

The ones I know are thankfully much less melodramatic, and don't seem to be find sharing a world with meat-eaters so unbearably painful.

Maybe they're not being very good vegetarians, though.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:51 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh. These are dead animal bodies. I thought they were food.
posted by Faze at 8:52 AM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, if it's a matter of cost, they could straight up replace ALL of their stock photos of meat dishes altered to remove the meat with pictures of a diner being punched in the stomach, silverware flying, food splattering, and a shocked look on their face.

That image pretty much sums up all 'meat dishes made without meat' taste tests anyways.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:53 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vegans are, understandably, appalled

I'm mostly vegan (would be totally if my family let me), and I'm not appalled. It's pretty stupid, and I'd fault them for that, but I can't really get upset about it at all.

why should I buy their magazine if all the content is already free through stockphoto.com?

It's not free. That's the point of stockphoto.com. ?? I don't subscribe to VegNews either, but if I did, it wouldn't likely be for the photos. justmy2c. Low-end publishing industry seems like a low-margin affair. shrug.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:53 AM on April 14, 2011


I love the phrase "formerly erstwhile."
posted by hilker at 8:53 AM on April 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


my point was a meandering "well, if you want something that tastes like the real thing but is not, I think it's kinda funny to get all grar if pictures of the real thing were used to sell you it."

OTOH, I'd take the magazine to task for not, you know, ACTUALLY COOKING THE DISH they're telling you about and taking a picture of what they cooked.. (At least, that's an implication I'm reading through all the grar about bogus pictures, and is, in my mind, a stronger point to make .. )
posted by k5.user at 8:53 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


gilrain: “Unless its readers ecpect to pay a higher subsciption rate so the magazine can hire food photographers to mock up and photograph actual vegan dishes matching the articles, I'm not sure what their readers expect.”

I hate to say it, but these days making a recipe and photographing it in high-definition is an enterprise that takes me nothing but an hour or two and costs me exactly zero.

Yeah, my images won't be pro-quality. But they'd be publishable in a magazine, if they needed images of the food. It's really not that hard. In a world full of really great food bloggers who photograph their own food, I don't see what the difficulty is.
posted by koeselitz at 8:54 AM on April 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


tempeh in a teapost

FTFY
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:54 AM on April 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm vegan, and I'm more offended to discover that they aren't using pictures of the recipe than the fact that they're using stock photos of meat. Is it really that much more expensive to take a picture of the actual recipe?
posted by something something at 8:54 AM on April 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


Because when I copy your fake vegan magazine picture you are not deprived of it, but when I steal your hunting trophy you are indeed deprived of it.

My point was that VegNews is OK with killing an animal, cutting it up, cooking it and taking pictures of the resulting food but they aren't ok with actually eating the resulting food. Granted they are just buying pictures of the food, but that seems like a distraction from my point.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:55 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Foodie bloggers manage to take photos of the recipes they publish, so should magazines. If they can't, then they should run them without images.
posted by aramaic at 8:55 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, a song about food.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:56 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"You can use mash potato for ice cream, and you can spay baby oil on the veggies. "
Not in the UK, you can't. Or at least, not on t'telly. Except for the mash potato because ice cream is a SPECIAL CASE.

I did once meet a food stylist and he told me that, to get the food appearing all lovely and steaming hot after hours of it sitting out on the counter, they sometimes dipped a tampon in boiling water to create the steam.

Oh. These are dead animal bodies. I thought they were food.

10/10
posted by mippy at 8:56 AM on April 14, 2011


It's a tough economy, magazines have to trim the fat.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:56 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it really that much more expensive to take a picture of the actual recipe?

Real food never looks very good on camera, meat or not.
posted by octothorpe at 8:56 AM on April 14, 2011


They used real tempeh in The Tempehest and real seitan in The Seitanic Verses at the Edible Book Festival.

amateurs.
posted by nomisxid at 8:56 AM on April 14, 2011


My inner Mutley is sniggering at this whole controversy. It's a good example of "not the crime, but the cover-up," though ---- if they'd just let that first comment stand and said "omg, those ribs are made of meat? How terrible. We're sorry, we don't employ our own food stylist and sometimes it can be tough to find vegan friendly stock photos. We'll change it straightaway," they'd have been fine, I bet.

In addition --- they probably wouldn't feel any better if someone pointed out that the sore-uddered "milk" in the Mac-n-cheese photo is more 'n likely Elmer's, hunh?
posted by Diablevert at 8:57 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I agree with Confess !
posted by programmes-tv at 8:58 AM on April 14, 2011


koeselitz: "I hate to say it, but these days making a recipe and photographing it in high-definition is an enterprise that takes me nothing but an hour or two and costs me exactly zero."

Well, sure. And a professional on staff or on contract will be charging for those hours or twos for each recipe photographed for each issue, if these demands are to be satisfied. Not every magazine can afford that.
posted by gilrain at 8:58 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do you like looking at pictures of meat? How about a juicy beef burger, covered in egg mayonnaise with cow fat dripping off? Perhaps some soft, meaty chunks of chicken breast in chicken stock and cream? What about a pork sausage, oozing in pig fat, fresh from the slaughterhouse?
Damn, that's the best food porn I've read in a long time. My personal response to that was more "Yes please, with extra helpings!", not "OMG that's disgusting!".

But yea, using pictures of meat in a vegan magazine is bad.
posted by Runes at 8:58 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, my images won't be pro-quality. But they'd be publishable in a magazine, if they needed images of the food. It's really not that hard. In a world full of really great food bloggers who photograph their own food, I don't see what the difficulty is.

Yeah, that's the thing that I find weirdest about this; it's not like there's a shortage of completely helpful and beautiful free vegan blogs out there as an alternative to this; I would have thought that a pay-for-subscription magazine's biggest selling point was a higher standard of professionalism.

And sepaking of awesome free vegan recipes, I will plug these "tempeh wingz" at every opportunity. Holy gods, they are so delicious.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:58 AM on April 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


You can disguise ice cream as a potato.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:58 AM on April 14, 2011


Real food never looks very good on camera, meat or not.
There are a lot of cooking and cocktail blogs out there that have extremely good photographs by non-professional photographers.

But what I'm wondering is whether there's a magazine that features huge natural taters.
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 8:59 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I understand their anger. I recently learned that a number of the women featured on the "horny babysitters" website that I frequent don't actually work in child care, and I cancelled my "slutty MILFS" subscription after discovering that not all of the MILFs in question were legit mothers (they were every bit as slutty as advertised, though).
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:00 AM on April 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


i don't believe in veganism, but i do believe that people should present their beliefs with integrity, and this fails
posted by pyramid termite at 9:00 AM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


my point was a meandering "well, if you want something that tastes like the real thing but is not, I think it's kinda funny to get all grar if pictures of the real thing were used to sell you it."

There is emphatically nothing contradictory or hypocritical about somebody who does not want animals to die for their diet eating something that looks or tastes like meat but is not. It's simply a matter of personal taste. This is a very common cheap shot of meat eaters looking for a reaction, and I am happy to oblige. This is very obviously one of my buttons.

OTOH, I'd take the magazine to task for not, you know, ACTUALLY COOKING THE DISH they're telling you about and taking a picture of what they cooked.. (At least, that's an implication I'm reading through all the grar about bogus pictures, and is, in my mind, a stronger point to make .. )

Agreed. This is a fraud on the readership.
posted by londonmark at 9:01 AM on April 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


I think the thing is that the publishing industry is used to the assumption that it's hard to photograph real food well. Hence the artifice and use of stock photos.

Of course, if you're not doing an ad (where you need to make it look like a hamburger for God himself) or making a particularly ugly recipe, good lighting, knowledge of composition and a quality camera does wonders.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:02 AM on April 14, 2011


They're using stock photos that represent a hamburger to represent a vegan burger.

We have no idea what the stock photo actually has in it, let alone whether it's real food or meat since food photography is kind of an enterprise in misleading. Further down the rabbit hole, this case.
posted by mikeh at 9:03 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not free. That's the point of stockphoto.com

It's free for me to look at, not for them to publish.

Why should I pay them to pay stockphoto to remove the watermark from a photo that I can look at for free, with a watermark?

It's kind of a food porn issue, really.
posted by muddgirl at 9:03 AM on April 14, 2011


Was anyone forcing them to use a photograph?
posted by unSane at 9:03 AM on April 14, 2011


gilrain: “Well, sure. And a professional on staff or on contract will be charging for those hours or twos for each recipe photographed for each issue, if these demands are to be satisfied. Not every magazine can afford that.”

Yes, but that's not how small magazines work, at least not the ones I know of. I know a few people who work on niche periodicals like this. The whole thing where a few copywriters get together, try making the recipe one afternoon, and snap a few pictures? That's totally feasible for a small magazine. And it's sort of how it's always worked for magazines that run recipes. This is true particularly since the informal rules of editorship sort of dictate that you have to try making a recipe before you print it. After going to the trouble, it's the least you can do to take five seconds and snap a picture.

octothorpe: “Real food never looks very good on camera, meat or not.”

Real food doesn't stand up to the rigors of a pro photo shoot, no. But real food often does look quite good on camera. Again, google "food blog."
posted by koeselitz at 9:04 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm sure a lot of magazine publishers think their readers are idiots. Most, however, try not to shout this from the mountaintops. This is just plain insulting and if I were a subscriber, I'd cancel my subscription with a hearty Fuck You.
posted by tommasz at 9:05 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


We have no idea what the stock photo actually has in it, let alone whether it's real food or meat since food photography is kind of an enterprise in misleading. Further down the rabbit hole, this case.

That's true. In food photography, fake meat is often used because meat doesn't photograph well. What if stockphoto is misrepresenting fake meat as meat?!

Was anyone forcing them to use a photograph?

The cost of filling in that space with something more expensive than the $4.99 they paid stockphoto.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:05 AM on April 14, 2011


Yeah, this is a lack of journalistic integrity, and if these were ads showing non-representational photographs there'd be hell toupeé. If you publish a recipe with a photo, the photo better be of the goddamn recipe. Food styling is one thing; food lying is another. It's like taking your date home and discovering that not only is there a whole wodge of makeup on, but actually your date is a sheep! (Yeah, I know some people are into that, thanks.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:05 AM on April 14, 2011


This is like Shakespeare. Fake meat posing as real meat posing as fake meat.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:06 AM on April 14, 2011


I cancelled my "slutty MILFS" subscription after discovering that not all of the MILFs in question were legit mothers (they were every bit as slutty as advertised, though).

You expect those women to be women, and not androids or drag queens, unless they are advertised as such.
posted by muddgirl at 9:08 AM on April 14, 2011


And I have to say, part of my annoyance at this is just me giving voice to the frustration of not being able to get the recipe to look like the damned picture. "Hrm... must have made a mistake somehow..." Gah! Bastards!
posted by koeselitz at 9:08 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


...to represent their vegan analogues.

That's the problem, right there. A vegan magazine that fetishizes meat so much that it offers a bunch of recipes designed to simulate meat as closely as possible... if their readers are OK with that, who cares what's in the pictures?
posted by gurple at 9:08 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: "Yes, but that's not how small magazines work, at least not the ones I know of. I know a few people who work on niche periodicals like this. The whole thing where a few copywriters get together, try making the recipe one afternoon, and snap a few pictures? That's totally feasible for a small magazine."

All right. Let me be more blunt: is it or is it not more expensive, in man hours, to take original photographs for a magazine than it is to buy cheap stock photos? I assume the answer is yes. It must be. Your argument is that they should be able to afford this, but you don't know that for a fact, right?

I know about food blogs. I love them. They are made by people as a hobby, for ad money, or whatever. Is there a food blog offering their work in the kitchen and photography skills for free to niche magazines as charity, or what? I don't see how it's relevant if not.
posted by gilrain at 9:08 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


And I'm talking about the salesmanship of selling someone imitation X, while using real pictures of X to do the selling.

You know what you're buying is imitation, so the reaction is funny.

Same as those awful import-knock-offs sold off a table on the street, where the brand names are misspelled and what not, but the ad-poster on the table is of the real thing. Everyone knows what they're really buying.

So, yeah, I find it funny that folks get all upright about the misrepresentation. On preview, I think gurple takes my generic and applied it specifically here.
posted by k5.user at 9:11 AM on April 14, 2011


There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of integrity in the vegetarian media world. Several years ago, I worked for a publishing company long since out of business that owned Vegetarian Times and Better Nutrition magazines. I was a contributing writer and editor for both publications. Let's just say that once the drafts of stories arrived on the editor's desk, there was a very good chance they'd come back to me with fried chicken grease on them. And there was nary a lick of truth in her monthly editor's column. I didn't care at the time. It wasn't my job to portray myself as a vegetarian, after all.
posted by emelenjr at 9:12 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm not saying they don't deserve to lose customers over this. If the customers are insulted or felt misled, they will leave, and that's great. However, I disagree with those seeming to argue that it'd be just as easy, or even feasible, for this magazine to take their own photos. It'd either cost them a fair amount more, which might wreck their fragile margins, or else they force their staff to do it... which will still cost them more in man hours and mean those staff members have less time to produce the content they're actually good at producing.
posted by gilrain at 9:12 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone who reads any cooking magazine should know that the photos are a fantasy representation of the food, at best. In general, the pictures are there to inspire and titillate, not document.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:14 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


gilrain: “All right. Let me be more blunt: is it or is it not more expensive, in man hours, to take original photographs for a magazine than it is to buy cheap stock photos? I assume the answer is yes. It must be. Your argument is that they should be able to afford this, but you don't know that for a fact, right?”

Well, my point was sort of that it really ought to be less expensive, in man hours, for them to take their own photos than to purchase stock photos.

The point this hinges on is sort of separate: are they actually trying the recipes before printing them?

If so, it costs nothing to snap a picture when you're done, and in taking a few seconds to snap that picture you're saving all the money you would've spent on stock photos.

If they're not actually trying the recipes before printing them, yeah, doing so would be a whole production, and would constitute a whole new cost.

I guess my feeling here is that, if they're a recipe magazine that doesn't actually try out their recipes, they've sort of got problems.
posted by koeselitz at 9:15 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


k5.user: "But you can use a meat substitute that tastes like real meat ? "

I've never understood this type of comment. You realize that vegetarians and vegans aren't objecting to the taste of meat, right?

/misses gyros every damn day
posted by brundlefly at 9:16 AM on April 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


k5.user: “You know what you're buying is imitation, so the reaction is funny.”

Actually, if you actually looked at the link, almost half the recipes there weren't imitation meat. This, for example, doesn't even look like it has meat in it, nor does this.
posted by koeselitz at 9:21 AM on April 14, 2011


koeselitz: "The point this hinges on is sort of separate: are they actually trying the recipes before printing them?

If so, it costs nothing to snap a picture when you're done, and in taking a few seconds to snap that picture you're saving all the money you would've spent on stock photos."

...and it'd likely wind up looking like amateur hour. Yes, it's easy to take a decent photo if you've spent a little time on it as a hobby. I can think of about four people in my social circle who could take a good photo. The other many, many people would take a bland, uninspiring, amateurish photo that'd look awful in a magazine.

I really don't think using stock photos means you aren't testing your recipes. That's a separate issue and, in fact, many, many recipes published in magazines and recipe books are never tested in a kitchen. Evaluated, yes. Tested? Sometimes.
posted by gilrain at 9:23 AM on April 14, 2011


two things:
01. agreed re: this represents an absence journalistic integrity
02. food photography is interesting. it's my understanding that if you're photographing something like ground beef, or ice cream, or anything, really, for the purpose of selling that item, you are legally obligated to photograph the thing itself. no fiddling. but if you're photographing food to sell china, or furniture, or kitchen appliances, then you can do whatever you need to (crisco, elmers, wax, have at it). this issue seems to fall somewhere in the middle.
posted by rude.boy at 9:23 AM on April 14, 2011


I had a friend who used to get really upset about vegetarian sausages - if you want to eat meat things, she would say, just eat meat.

She's now been a veggie for about ten years. I'm not, but I do like Cauldron's tofu sausages.
posted by mippy at 9:24 AM on April 14, 2011


Not to alarm anyone, but this here plate of beans is actually PORK N BEANS!!!!
posted by Kabanos at 9:24 AM on April 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


why should I buy their magazine if all the content is already free through stockphoto.com?

That doesn't make sense.

For what it's worth, it's iStockphoto.com (we buy images from there where I work too), it's a web site where you buy commercial images, and the reason the magazine is using it is almost certainly because it's one of the cheapest of the at-least-decent-looking royalty-free stock photo sites on the web.

Stock photography tends to be pretty expensive, and we all know the tough financial times print publishers are going through, so none of this surprises me. Professional photographers are also pretty expensive to hire for the day or keep on staff, compared to a few bucks an image through iStockphoto.
posted by aught at 9:24 AM on April 14, 2011


I’m not a vegan, but I would certainly cancel my subscription if I read this magazine.
posted by bongo_x at 9:26 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't judge the quality of an imitation if you show me a picture of the real thing. It would be different if they were up front about it.

I get all my recipes from here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:26 AM on April 14, 2011


and it'd likely wind up looking like amateur hour.

of course, compromising professed principles to get a magazine out to a public that believes in those principles is amateur hour, too
posted by pyramid termite at 9:27 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, my point was sort of that it really ought to be less expensive, in man hours, for them to take their own photos than to purchase stock photos.

It's actually fairly difficult to take pictures of food that don't literally look like crap unless you know what you're doing in terms of prep, have good equipment and lighting, and are pretty good with the Photoshop. And as I said before, iStockphoto is pretty cheap compared to the big stock photography companies.
posted by aught at 9:27 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't see how it's relevant if not.

It's relevant only if you thinking stealing pictures from food blogs is better than using stock photos of meat or dairy.

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of integrity in the vegetarian media world.

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of integrity in the media world in general.

The point this hinges on is sort of separate: are they actually trying the recipes before printing them?

Very doubtful. If there's no additional commentary aside from the ingredients and instructions, that's fair use. They've likely lifted most of them.

I guess my feeling here is that, if they're a recipe magazine that doesn't actually try out their recipes, they've sort of got problems

I'm not a subscriber nor super well versed, but I don't think of VegNews primarily as a cooking magazine. The recipes are supplemental. As in, I would assume they have culled these recipes from the Web. Which is fine (with me), if their selection is good. Again, I'm not a regular reader or subscriber.

For vegan recipes, I've lately taken a liking to Livestrong. The recipes there are light on dairy and have a nice balance of preparation/cuisine level and are flexible enough for my toddler. I'm am almost positive they lift all these recipes from elsewhere as well. I've seen some that have all the commentary stripped out (so you're much better off finding the original source.)

I had a friend who used to get really upset about vegetarian sausages - if you want to eat meat things, she would say, just eat meat.

I do eat meat, about once every two years or so. Whether or not I'm a vegan depends on whom you ask. I eat vegan sausage all the time.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:28 AM on April 14, 2011


After close study, I think there's similar shennanigans going on with the line drawings in my Joy of Cooking.
posted by klarck at 9:30 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Especially when (at least in my experience) many vegans are "that way" in no small part because of their feelings of compassion and desire to live with integrity. The bar is a little higher, y'know?

Also, the threadshitting here is amazing, as is the noncomprehension of how and why vegetarians and vegans act.
posted by jtron at 9:31 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had a friend who used to get really upset about vegetarian sausages - if you want to eat meat things, she would say, just eat meat.

I hear that sentiment batted around occasionally, and it bugs the shit out of me with its utter stupidity. Ethical issues aside, vegan "faux-meats" taste totally different from real meats, and I love them both.

Last time I made scotch eggs for Burns Night, I had a bunch of friends over who were omnivores, one friend who doesn't eat pork, and a couple vegetarians, so I made three different kinds of scotch eggs, with pork sausage, beef sausage, and Gimme Lean faux-sausage. All three were great, all three tasted slightly different. (Although it's worth noting that the faux-sausage was actually the best-received, tastewise.)
posted by Greg Nog at 9:33 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are photographs part of the vegan diet?
posted by HumanComplex at 9:35 AM on April 14, 2011


Anything that pisses off attention-seeking picky eaters is fine by me.
posted by dr_dank at 9:36 AM on April 14, 2011


aught: “It's actually fairly difficult to take pictures of food that don't literally look like crap unless you know what you're doing in terms of prep, have good equipment and lighting, and are pretty good with the Photoshop. And as I said before, iStockphoto is pretty cheap compared to the big stock photography companies.”

I dispute this. [1 2 3 4] And that's just stuff I've found that other amateurs have done – I've got half a dozen pictures of food I've made that look pretty good on my computer at home. And besides, doesn't everybody know how to touch up a photo a tiny bit in Photoshop these days?

The industry is used to the notion that this is the sort of thing that's expensive and takes a professional, but the interesting thing is that food blogs usually have better images than magazines anyhow these days.
posted by koeselitz at 9:38 AM on April 14, 2011


But in an industry where deceptive food photography is customary, is authenticity of food illlustration a valid concern?

In an industry where cruelty to animals is customary, is humanity of food preparation a valid concern?

Huh, I guess how common something is has no relation to how valid a concern it might be.
posted by DU at 9:40 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


koeselitz: "I dispute this. [1 2 3 4] And that's just stuff I've found that other amateurs have done – I've got half a dozen pictures of food I've made that look pretty good on my computer at home."

I don't know. I think the photography in those links is pretty bad. Different strokes, I guess.
posted by brundlefly at 9:42 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey! I know! Let's make fun of vegans! Other people's choices that differ from mine must be unworthy of my respect!!!!1!
posted by liketitanic at 9:42 AM on April 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


I knew something was up when all their photos of salads included women, who were alone and laughing.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:43 AM on April 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I dispute this. [1 2 3 4]

I'm not actually opposed to your overall point, but in my opinion more than half of those photos are seriously unappetizing.
posted by lalex at 9:43 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


has anyone read the comments on that blog? - there are a couple of people who say they write columns for this magazine and take their own pictures of their own vegan food as illustrations

so, it's certainly possible to do and has been done

these people sound pretty disappointed
posted by pyramid termite at 9:44 AM on April 14, 2011


I dispute this. [1 2 3 4]

Most of those photos are crap, badly composed, with bad lighting.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:45 AM on April 14, 2011


Ceci n'est pas...
posted by knapah at 9:46 AM on April 14, 2011


Also:
And besides, doesn't everybody know how to touch up a photo a tiny bit in Photoshop these days?

You can't make gold out of crap, especially with limited time and budget. The goal, usually, is to get as close as possible to a finished photo when shooting. And no, just cause someone knows where to find the Brightness and Contrast option in Photoshop doesn't mean they know how to color correct food photos so they look appetizing. Hell, if they're using B&C, that's a sign they probably don't.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:51 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I keep trying to look at this through a kosher lens - if it were a 'kosher-living' magazine, using the same photos, would there be an uproar if it came out that the photos weren't actually kosher food? And I think the answer would be "who cares?" - I think there's already an assumption that stock photos are stock photos, and most people nowadays can generally spot them.

So then I thought, okay, but what if the meat in the photos accompanying beef recipes was actually pork? That would be a problem, right? But again, I don't think that would cause outrage, since it doesn't change the fact that the recipe is kosher, and again, you tend to forgive stock photos. There would be letters to the editor and a no-treif-animal-pics policy might be announced, but I don't think they would discontinue using nonkosher stock photos.

So I think what makes me feel like this particular case doesn't sit right is because vegetarian entrees (and I've certainly cooked and eaten my share) just don't generally look as appetizing as their real-meat counterparts. They can, with effort, but for the average cook they just don't seem to look all that appetizing. So a really delicious-looking pic accompanying a vegan recipe makes someone who is looking for vegetarian dishes they can serve omnivore friends sit up a bit and think, "that's worth trying." So having the photos turn out to be meat - which you already know looks appetizing (to the people who eat it, anyhow) - makes it feel like a Big Lie. That they already know the recipe won't look great, but they're still hoping to sucker you into making it.

A photo of toll house cookies (made with eggs and milk chocolate) accompanying a recipe for vegan carob-chip cookies wouldn't bug me in the same way.
posted by Mchelly at 9:52 AM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


As an 'attention-seeking picky eater'* my first reaction to this was to laugh rather than reach for the pitchforks. I guess I'm more used to food blogs like Post Punk Kitchen where you have a bit more security that get the impression that the recipes have actually been tested and photographed. It feels more like run of the mill magazine deceit than something deserving of a veganic jihad.


*oh my aching sides.
posted by spectrevsrector at 9:53 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


That doesn't make sense.

OK, let me be more clear. I subscribe to food magazines for two purposes: (1) The recipes, (2) The pretty pictures of food.

If I can go to a commercial website and look at the same photos of food (with a proprietary watermark) like this picture of vegetarian pizza, then part of the value of the magazine is actually not worth anything to me. Part of what I'm paying for is photography that's actually related to a recipe. If that relationship doesn't exist, then I don't actually want the magazine. There's a reason it's referred to as "food porn" - I want the illusion.

For what it's worth, it's iStockphoto.com (we buy images from there where I work too)

I meant "stockphoto.com" to be a generic web address representing the various stock photography websites that exist.
posted by muddgirl at 9:59 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bacon wins again!
posted by crunchland at 10:03 AM on April 14, 2011


But you can use a meat substitute that tastes like real meat ?

Yes.
posted by John Cohen at 10:03 AM on April 14, 2011


Mchelly: "I keep trying to look at this through a kosher lens - if it were a 'kosher-living' magazine, using the same photos, would there be an uproar if it came out that the photos weren't actually kosher food? And I think the answer would be "who cares?" - I think there's already an assumption that stock photos are stock photos, and most people nowadays can generally spot them. "

Is it generally assumed that cooking magazines use stock photos for their recipes? That's news to me. The fact that these photos were not of vegetarian food, while adding to the hilarity, is less damning than the fact that they were using stock at all.

On preview, what muddgirl said.
posted by brundlefly at 10:05 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


By the same token, a movie that depicts a person being murdered is not the same thing as actually murdering someone and showing it in the movie.

I don't think any of us would disagree with that, but somehow people's thinking gets all mixed up when it's about non-human animals.
posted by John Cohen at 10:07 AM on April 14, 2011


I can't speak for how the magazine works now, but back in 2002 when I was at Vegetarian Times, we had a recipe editor who would prepare dishes in our test kitchen, and we had a rotating lineup of food photographers who would photograph those same dishes. Some possible food photography studio tricks aside (I don't know for sure--I was never in the photo shoots) there was definitely an effort to document the same recipes we were publishing instead of using stock photos of food.
posted by emelenjr at 10:10 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, the threadshitting here is amazing, as is the noncomprehension of how and why vegetarians and vegans act.

I think part of the threadshitting is that this is essentially a nontroversy. I'm reminded of the Microsoft Polish Website incident.

In both incidents, those that complain the loudest, go on about the hypocrisy rather than the net effect of the act itself, which is nil.

No one can even say for sure if it's even real meat in those photos, since the original photographers haven't really been contacted.

If they're so invested in moral purity in consumption/production, then the only way to guarantee that no animal has ever even six-degrees-of-Kevin-Vegan-Bacon indirectly suffered is to pretty much vertically integrate. Basically create a mirror economy where suppliers, producers, distributors, and advertisers are all vegan.
posted by FJT at 10:11 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm a vegetarian and I think the tone of the linked blogger's reaction is over-the-top and counterproductive.

That noted, what is really weird about this to me, from a business logic perspective, is that the magazine seems to be already paying someone to Photoshop the stock images of meat-based dishes to make them look less like meat (by carefully taking out evidence of bones, etc.). If the magazine is willing to pay someone to Photoshop stock photos that are not of the food described in the recipes to make them look more like the food described in the recipes, why aren't they willing to pay someone just a bit more to take photos of the actual results of the recipes?

Because they're not ever cooking the recipes, is what I think. What personally bothers me about the magazine's apparently habitual use of altered stock photos is that said use implies the magazine may not be testing any of the recipes it is printing. I would be disappointed to learn that of any food magazine, vegetarian, vegan or otherwise.

But I've suspected for some time that big glossy food magazines are just about as trustworthy as big glossy women's fashion magazines. Which would be why I don't pay to subscribe to any food magazines. I'd much rather spend my food porn budget on a decent cookbook.
posted by BlueJae at 10:11 AM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'd much rather spend my food porn budget on a decent cookbook.

Forget that, I'd rather just roll my food porn budget into my food prostitution budget. (Eating out)
posted by FJT at 10:13 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, having had some time to reflect on this, I think the funniest aspect of this whole not-making-the-recipes kerfluffle is that they have a recipe for a hot dog. They couldn't be arsed to put a veggie dog into a bun themselves and add some toppings, apparently. That was too much work. It was too much work to put together a hot dog.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:14 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe they were just too weak from hunger.
posted by crunchland at 10:20 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The point-and-snicker dickishness toward vegetarians and vegans around here is a huge bummer.
posted by mintcake! at 10:25 AM on April 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


FJT: it's not just this thread, it happens in almost every thread that addresses vegetarianism.

crunchland: say that to one of the top level UFC guys who is vegan, or to WWE's Daniel Bryan. I'm sure they'd love to show you how your easy joke is not solidly based in reality :)
posted by jtron at 10:25 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think the funniest aspect of this whole not-making-the-recipes kerfluffle is that they have a recipe for a hot dog.

1) boil water*

2) plunk hot dogs in**

3) open hot dog buns***

4) insert hot dogs#

5) put a bunch of crap on them~

yeah, people need to be told stuff like that

*see our special how to boil water article in the 2010 sept/oct issue

**see our 2011 jan/feb article "vegans can get scalded, too" for safety tips

***"carpal tunnel avoidance in food preperation", 2010 july/aug will help you avoid painful surgery

#make sure you check out our article on page 39, "how to avoid bruising fake meat" before you insert those wieners!

~you did pick up our 2009 mar/apr special issue, "crap - what it is, what you can throw it on", right?

posted by pyramid termite at 10:27 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


...why aren't they willing to pay someone just a bit more to take photos of the actual results of the recipes?

Because it involves paying someone "just a bit more." The rationale is 'why spend more money when you don't have to?'
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:31 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The rationale is 'why spend more money when you don't have to?'

Judging from the comments plastered all over the site now I guess they finally answered that question.
posted by unSane at 10:36 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The point-and-snicker dickishness toward vegetarians and vegans around here is a huge bummer.

...and it doesn't even make sense. They should be mocking people who buy food magazines. Not all vegetarians buy food magazines, and not all people who buy vegetarian food magazines are vegetarians.

But I don't expect Metafilter to even understand what they're snarking about, most of the time. It's a Pavlovian response now.
posted by muddgirl at 10:37 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes. You'd think we'd realize that the one thing vegans hate more than meat is humor.
posted by crunchland at 10:42 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Q. How do you identify the vegans in a group of people?

A. They'll tell you.
posted by Naberius at 10:46 AM on April 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


As a vegetarian that loves to cook, the only thing that bothers me about this is that when I make a recipe, I try real hard to make my results look exactly like the photos. Not knowing those photos aren't true representations of that recipe would frustrate me to no end!

And, As a former magazine art director, this really doesn't surprise me either. It's costly and time consuming to set up food shoots. They probably don't have the budget to hire a food stylist. It's much cheaper to get the poor designer to photoshop an inexpensive stock photo.
I feel their pain.

Now I don't feel so bad about the way my bean burgers look.
posted by DizzyLeaf at 10:46 AM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


The point-and-snicker dickishness toward vegetarians and vegans around here is a huge bummer.

Well, it's endemic in the wider world as well. I am not even a vegetarian (although I do a lot of vegetarian and vegan cooking because it's tasty, you know, like food), and I occasionally get the "OMG, you are cooking without meat, you will take away my burger" response. It's just plain odd and irritating.

Yes. You'd think we'd realize that the one thing vegans hate more than meat is humor.

Aaaaand, excellent example!
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:47 AM on April 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm sure this looks like LOLvegans, but the logic is sound and consistent:

Finally, how does this harm animals? Well, not directly – I mean, cows, pigs, chickens and who knows what else were clearly killed as part of the chain of events that led to the photo, but the laziness and outright lack of respect from Veg News toward animals and vegans undermines everything we stand for.

The author did a real disservice by leading with histrionics instead of the, ahem, meat of the issue. There was this amazing vegan place near Mississippi Ave in Portland. Everything there was a mouthgasm and a half (no joke!) The owner also ran other foodie establishments, including some that served foie gras. As you might guess, the amazing vegan restaurant was quickly boycotted out of existence.

When is a half-ally an ally? If the perfect is the enemy of the good, where do you draw the line? I think there's something to be said for trying to turn half-allies into full allies with incentives and consideration of intent before turning them into full enemies.

You see this kind of response in other movements, too. When you're a minority with different values than the mainstream, it's really tempting to try for an easy "got-ya" or associate all set-backs with feelings of victimization.

VegNews censoring comments was both journalistically unsound and totally ignorant of how the Internet works. They do need a smack with the cluestick, but straight up histrionic public infighting within a misunderstood minority movement is bad news.

Case in point: all the trolling MeFis purposefully misunderstanding the vegan value of "minimize intentional cruelty" to make easy quips.
posted by Skwirl at 10:51 AM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


You'd think we'd realize that the one thing vegans hate more than meat is humor

Wait a minute. Are there animals in that lightbulb?!

"... Some people have asked how we can make jokes when the animals are suffering so terribly ... "

Where do you get your protein, protein?

posted by mrgrimm at 10:53 AM on April 14, 2011


mrgrimm, the poe is strong with that site. I'm assuming it's generally sincere as it lacks the sort of winking nods that parody sites usually have.

I can get vegetarians being angry at people who eat meat, if they think eating meat is morally wrong. But I can't really get meat eaters who get mad at vegetarians. All vegetarians are doing is choosing to not eat certain types of food.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:03 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not what it says on the tin.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:04 AM on April 14, 2011


It is affectionate point and snickery in my case, just to be clear.
posted by Naberius at 11:07 AM on April 14, 2011


But I can't really get meat eaters who get mad at vegetarians

Many people who don't eat meat do so because they believe meat eating to be morally wrong. If so, then they believe that people who do eat meat are participating in an act of cruelty through ignorance, barbarism or gluttony. It follows, also, that they must in that one respect consider themselves to be better people than meat-eaters. You can keep this opinion on the DL and not front it in daily life, and most people will do that and play bygones. But it's inherent in the position, and meat eaters are aware that vegetarians consider them to be their moral inferiors, and resent being so judged. So they get sarcastic.
posted by Diablevert at 11:51 AM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


At least there is no hell in vegan mythology.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:56 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


But it's inherent in the position, and meat eaters are aware that vegetarians consider them to be their moral inferiors, and resent being so judged. So they get sarcastic.

I also think part of it is the culture wars baggage. Tofu and vegetarianism have a close relationship with hippies and counter-cultural history. Not to mention the marketing of masculinity. Metafilter has covered this before. A Big Fat Juicy Cheeseburger in a Land of Tofu and Truth in advertising.
posted by formless at 12:02 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


But it's inherent in the position, and meat eaters are aware that vegetarians consider them to be their moral inferiors, and resent being so judged. So they get sarcastic.

I don't think it is inherent in the position. I think people can hold ethical standards for themselves that they don't measure other people by.
posted by liketitanic at 12:05 PM on April 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Here's VegNews' response to the controversy (pdf).
posted by arianell at 12:17 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess the options they exhausted did not include taking a picture of what they cooked.

They AGONIZED, I say AGONIZED, before making the wrong decision.
posted by unSane at 12:33 PM on April 14, 2011


meat eaters are aware that vegetarians consider them to be their moral inferiors, and resent being so judged

I think this has more than a whiff of the "If we let gays in the club they will look at my ass and what will I do!?!" Relax; hardly anyone is looking at your ass. Or, if you prefer "Those man-hating feminists are putting down!" Again, relax; those feminists aren't talking about you at all.


I eat meat, and I cook for my many vegetarian/vegan friends, and I have never had any of them express that I was their moral inferior (well, not for my food choices). I suppose they could just not be saying it to my face, but, if that's the case, why do they keep coming back for my tasty meals? I suppose your experience could be totally different, and you live your life persecuted by vegans for your principled stance on meat-eating, but I find it a bit hard to believe. Relax; the vegans aren't talking about you, either.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:56 PM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I found it interesting that they didn't even address the speculation over whether they test the recipes they publish.
posted by arianell at 12:57 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok, the vegan food thing in the photos, I get. Sure, it's much better to use something more representative.

But why does it have to be vegan food shot by vegan photographers? Does the meat they've eaten seep out of their pores, bend the light by the lens, imprinting an impure meat glaze over the otherwise wholesome veganess of the spread?
posted by drewbage1847 at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2011


Many people who don't eat meat do so because they believe meat eating to be morally wrong. If so, then they believe that people who do eat meat are participating in an act of cruelty through ignorance, barbarism or gluttony. It follows, also, that they must in that one respect consider themselves to be better people than meat-eaters.

Whoa, whoa! I totally disagree with this. I think you can certainly believe your position is ethically superior without believing yourself to be a superior human being. I do take your point though that it's understandable for people to infer this superiority, hence the defensive response. But I don't think the ethical vegan argument goes any further than asserting that veganism is the more ethical position. I can't vouch for anyone who wants to take that and add their own superiority complex to it.
posted by Pants McCracky at 1:02 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I found it interesting that they didn't even address the speculation over whether they test the recipes they publish.

VegNews is a lifestyle magazine, an entity positioning itself within a privileged, Western, upper-class economic ecology built around specific choices of food.

The recipes are almost secondary to the purposes of this publication, to:

1. Primarily, sell ad space to commercial entities that sell products to the vegan lifestyle demographic.

2. Secondarily, use words and pictures in the remaining magazine space to sell the vegan lifestyle to repeat readers.

Its readers probably do not prepare half the recipes they read in an issue, and some of its readers probably do not buy it for the recipes, at all, I suspect.

This is not an indictment of veganism. In these respects, VegNews is no different than any other ad-based lifestyle magazine, food or otherwise, that caters to a privileged audience that makes conspicuous consumption choices over food, media and other commodities.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:09 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it generally assumed that cooking magazines use stock photos for their recipes? That's news to me.

I wouldn't say that - I certainly assume that national cooking magazines (like Gourmet, Food & Wine, etc) take photographs and test every recipe they publish. But when it comes to online magazines and free publications, I generally assume it's all grabbed from someplace else.
posted by Mchelly at 1:10 PM on April 14, 2011


I wouldn't say that - I certainly assume that national cooking magazines (like Gourmet, Food & Wine, etc) take photographs and test every recipe they publish.

I am not sure I would extend that assumption to Gourmet -- I don't think I ever had a recipe go well from them....
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:13 PM on April 14, 2011


I'll be frank. Every vegan I ever met was a fucking pain in the ass.

Throwing a dinner party? "Oh, don't invite Bill. He can't eat whatever you're going to make." Going out to dinner after a movie with friends to that trendy new bistro? "Oh, Bill says we can't go there because they serve meat." It's not enough that the meal he orders doesn't have meat in it. The whole damn kitchen has to be completely meat free. And so we all grumblingly trot over to the Hedge & Vedge and chomp on tempeh and dirt, and all the while, Bill is telling us how great it is to be eating such blissfully earthy food. How no animals were harmed in the creation of this basically crappy meal that pretends to be the thing we're not really eating. Oh, and you know, we really should be wearing Crocs or some other bullshit shoe that doesn't have leather in it. And did I know that they make belts from hemp? You know what, Bill? Fuck you, Bill. Fuck you and your hemp sandals.
posted by crunchland at 1:35 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ladies and gentlemen...Larry the Cable Guy!
posted by Pants McCracky at 1:42 PM on April 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


Every vegan I ever met was a fucking pain in the ass.

So you're talking about the one guy, then?
posted by liketitanic at 1:55 PM on April 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I honestly don't know why I bother to read any vegan-related threads on Metafilter.

I suppose there is a certain amount of amusement to be gained from watching a variety of non-vegans explode into quivering outrage and disdain at the invented foibles and beliefs of imaginary people.

On the other hand, that tends to be cancelled out by the annoyance that comes from being told that I must of necessity share and practice such invented foibles and beliefs.

This time, I think I'll pass on the explanation of what I actually believe and do, since it's been demonstrated time and time again that the people it's directed to don't really give a damn. Instead, I'll just give them a hint:

If I think you're an asshole, it's not because you eat meat. It's because you're an asshole.
posted by kyrademon at 2:02 PM on April 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


At least he didn't have a peanut allergy. Or kept kosher. That really would have been inconvenient.
posted by jtron at 2:03 PM on April 14, 2011


Where do people meet these douchebag vegans who expect people to bend to their every culinary whim? I've known plenty of vegans (hell, I've lived in Berkeley, CA for the past 5 years) but I've never, ever met a vegan who acted like this.
posted by brundlefly at 2:08 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'll be frank. Every vegan I ever met was a fucking pain in the ass.

This is so annoying. It's just the pain in the ass vegans that you're noticing. There are plenty of us who are pleasant and fun and laid-back and will just quietly bring a fucking PB&J if we know we aren't going to be able to eat the meat burgers at your barbecue.
posted by something something at 2:26 PM on April 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sometimes I'm pretty sure I'm vegetarian simply because a lot of meat-eaters, as evidenced by this thread, are outright knobheads.
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:28 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you're looking for truth, photography is not the place to find it.

As an omnivore who cheerfully eats an occasional vegan/vegetarian/gf meal, I don't like to tell others what to eat*, but I can understand how certain philosophical underpinnings might make a VegNews reader recoil in horror to know these shots featured the very food they will not eat.

I hope this mag works on creating some strategic relationships with food bloggers who cook vegan recipes and photograph them. That seems the cleanest way out.



*except for: stay away from processed corn and soy and other imitation food products
posted by FunkyStar at 2:36 PM on April 14, 2011


There are plenty of us who are pleasant and fun and laid-back and will just quietly bring a fucking PB&J if we know we aren't going to be able to eat the meat burgers at your barbecue.

But you're going to sit there judging me and my kind, I know it, I KNOW IT.

Seriously though, I think there's an implicit view of judgement simply by the vegetarians refusal to eat meat. An omnivore probably thinks "This is good and tasty and everyone I know and love eats this and enjoys. So what the hell is the vegetarian's problem?!"

It's a classic case of otherism, occurring in a very social situation, the eating of food. People get all bent out of shape if you don't at least try their food, so having someone just blanketly say "I'm not eating what you eat" is a giant red flag to some people or a chance to reaffirm their place in the herd.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:48 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know what, Bill? Fuck you, Bill. Fuck you and your hemp sandals.

Possibly you have mistaken mefi's comment field for an e-mail program that would allow you to contact Bill.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:56 PM on April 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


There is a faction among vegans who are essentially puritans striving for an unobtainable goal. Those with blogs and those who consider veganism a "lifestyle" are largely of this faction, and so it's consistent that they'd freak the fuck out about their food porn being the equivalent of post-ops to straight porn.

Quarrygirl is usually a pretty decent blog, but frankly, I don't read it often because it often feels like I'm getting hectored even when I'm already eating vegan (though I'm not, generally, vegan). You can see that factionalism in the comments on her blog, where vegans are getting called idiots for not taking this as SERIOUS BUSINESS.

Now, yeah, it's a bad editorial policy and vegans are more concerned (in general) with integrity than maybe most everyone else is, and VegNews is handling this poorly, but seriously, the hyperbole just makes everyone look like assholes.
posted by klangklangston at 2:56 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Possibly you have mistaken mefi's comment field for an e-mail program that would allow you to contact Bill."

TAKE ME OFF THE GOOGLE!
posted by klangklangston at 2:57 PM on April 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


As a vegetarian I'm not dogmatic. Yet I'm particularly grateful for the raft of vegetable oriented sushi available at my favorite joint: mango rolls, horenso (spinach) rolls; philapara (cream cheese and asparagus) and when tasting their Nasu (sauteed eggplant) nigiri I could almost believe in an omnipotent sky-daddy invested in my happiness. But it's a regular sushi joint -- not a veggie place. They just happen to have a veggie pleasing selection.

On the topic of the meat-containing pix, I must cry foul. How many pitiful vegans have been wracked by their cooking failures because they can't reproduce the photo? That's just mean, uncalled for, and avaricious. If you need pretty (fake) pictures to sell your magazine then your cooking & recipes suck. Easy!

Best & hugs,
Alles
posted by Alles at 2:58 PM on April 14, 2011


Best & hugs

STOP JUDGING ME AND MY CHEESEBURGER.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:24 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Crunchland, you're a little confused. The definition of "frank" is not "clueless, unfunny dick".
posted by the bricabrac man at 3:37 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I'm pretty sure I'm X simply because a lot of Y, as evidenced by this thread, are outright knobheads.
posted by aramaic at 4:20 PM on April 14, 2011


Every vegan I ever met was a fucking pain in the ass.

Actually, even though I've dealt with plenty of self-righteous vegetarians/vegans in my day, I also share my lunch hour at work with two incredibly non-pushy vegans with great senses of humor* about both themselves and veganism.

I actually recently asked them about vegan meat/cheese substitutes and they told me how they wre made. I asked if they were good and they both said "no, not really."

* When I told Lindon, one of the aforementioned vegans, that me and my wife's car had narrowly escaped being rear-ended by a car with a bumper sticker reading "Proud to be Vegan!" he said "Didn't know it was you, bro..."
posted by jonmc at 5:02 PM on April 14, 2011


I floss with bacon. DON'T JUDGE ME.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:05 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are vegans who are obnoxiously ostentatious about their veganism. They're certainly not a majority but they do exist. Check in with those vegans five years later and they're likely to be wearing expensive Italian shoes and debating who has better steaks, Peter Luger's or Smith & Wollensky's.

Of course these people are obnoxious about veganism. For them, it's less a moral and philosophical choice than a fashion statement; they have to bray about it so everyone notices. They're probably just as loud-mouthed about every successive cultural signifier they adopt.

Unfortunately, they're also the most prominent and memorable representatives of vegans within the omnivore world.
posted by dogrose at 5:18 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Y'know, whenever my more militantly atheist friends say how if the world were free of religion, there would be no more conflict in the world, I try not to chuckle too audibly.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:50 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not enough that the meal he orders doesn't have meat in it. The whole damn kitchen has to be completely meat free.

MrMippy can't go to vegan restaurants, or Indian places, because of the number of chickpeas and lentils flying around. Even if he doesn't order a dish with them in, there'll be cross contamination. We deal with it and go for noodles instead. (Though I do like curry, and falafel, and it makes me sad that he can't eat a lovely houmous now and then.) It's not awfully hard to accommodate someone's dietary needs and if someone is vegan, it's not awfully different to being a coeliac or allergic to peanuts. Not simply picky eating.
posted by mippy at 1:58 AM on April 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I think you're an asshole, it's not because you eat meat. It's because you're an asshole.

thank you, kyrademon
posted by jammy at 5:42 AM on April 15, 2011


dogrose: They're probably just as loud-mouthed about every successive cultural signifier they adopt.

nailed it.

(sorry i'm kinda late with this comment)
posted by rude.boy at 8:06 AM on April 15, 2011


I love the non-apology apology. And they really mean it- the current lead photo on their Web site is of real ice cream.

They should post a photo of bacon next, just to drive the point home.
posted by efbrazil at 10:29 AM on April 15, 2011


the current lead photo on their Web site is of real ice cream.

allegedly real ice cream. honestly, if i had to bet and it could be proved one way or another, i'd bet that's not "real" ice cream.

it's not a vegan sundae (unless it happens to be one by accident; it's not labeled as one in the database where it can be purchased).

Again, there's no proof that the sundae is real ice cream or not. Someone has already mentioned that a lot of ice cream pictures are faked (most likely b/c of melting). You'll notice that the ice cream does have chocolate syrup on it.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:13 AM on April 15, 2011


"There's no proof that the sundae is real ice cream or not."

Agreed. It's also still not a vegan sundae as far as anyone knows. See, everyone is right! (And with that, I have officially typed "vegan sundae" more times in the last 24 hours than a person really should.)
posted by Linda_Holmes at 11:46 AM on April 15, 2011


"It's milk and eggs, bitch!"
posted by longbaugh at 11:51 AM on April 15, 2011


It's a classic case of otherism, occurring in a very social situation, the eating of food. People get all bent out of shape if you don't at least try their food, so having someone just blanketly say "I'm not eating what you eat" is a giant red flag to some people or a chance to reaffirm their place in the herd.

Agreed. Other presumably pain-in-the-ass people include political progressives ("You folks think you're so damn special with your incessant helping the poor and foreigners nonsense"), non-religious people ("What are you trying to say about me and my God when you don't go to church?"), non-married ("You think you're too good to get hitched like the rest of us?"), and childfree ("You must really dislike children or be somehow flawed and immature if you don't want to have kids.")

As a lefty, atheist, unmarried, childfree, on-and-off vegetarian, I have borne the brunt of each of these form of defensive judgments. People just don't want you to be different from the herd.
posted by aught at 2:18 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


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