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Food for Thought, Indeed
August 2, 2010 10:12 AM   Subscribe

"Sorry, vegetarians, but eating meat apparently made our ancestors smarter — smart enough to make better tools, which in turn led to other changes."
posted by Houyhnhnm (160 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, it sure as hell isn't helping now.
posted by koeselitz at 10:14 AM on August 2, 2010 [47 favorites]


Cueing moronic nom nom bacon squad in 10, 9, 8....
posted by applemeat at 10:17 AM on August 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


Isn't this the basis for the Kzin disdain of the Puppetters? IE: how smart do you have to be to sneak up on a blade of grass?
posted by Mitheral at 10:17 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


I liked the second part of this article, about why cooking is a good thing, featuring a vegetarian scientist:

As I cut into my steak (Wrangham is a vegetarian; he settles for the mango and potatoes), Wrangham explains that cooking also led to some of the finer elements of human behavior: it encourages people to share labor; it brings families and communities together at the end of the day and encourages conversation and story-telling — all very human activities.

posted by bearwife at 10:17 AM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


"Sorry means, these ends justify you"
posted by crayz at 10:19 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Doesn't that statement imply that vegetarians were arguing that meat didn't make our ancestors smarter? What an odd choice of words.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:20 AM on August 2, 2010 [10 favorites]


Or, perhaps, the addition of meat to the diet resulted in evolutionary pressure to become more intelligent and better toolmakers.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:20 AM on August 2, 2010


"You can't have a large brain and big guts at the same time"

I reject that statement. I have a very large brain. Now hand me another Twinkie.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:21 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


which in turn led to other changes

Changes including the development of agricultural civilizations that provided more sustainable food sources in the long term.
posted by hermitosis at 10:21 AM on August 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


Cueing moronic nom nom bacon squad in 10, 9, 8....

Cueing moronic nom nom vegetables make me feel smug and superior squad in 10, 9, 8 ... oh wait nevermind you already beat me to the punch.

BACON, IT DOES A BODY GOOD!!!!
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:22 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


Boy I sure am glad meat helped us evolve to a point where individuals can make conscious and individual decisions about their dietary habits (including but not limited to subsiding on Banquet Frozen Dinners alone) without threatening the entirety of the human race.
posted by griphus at 10:22 AM on August 2, 2010 [12 favorites]


Call me when you can make beer out of bacon.
posted by kipmanley at 10:23 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Changes including the development of agricultural civilizations that provided more sustainable food sources in the long term.

Yeah like domesticated pigs mmmmmm mmmmmm BACON!!!!
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:24 AM on August 2, 2010


Bad news for raw foodists
posted by Artw at 10:24 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


So the monolith was actually made of delicious bacon?
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:24 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Made us smart -- smart enough to understand that we don't need to eat meat.
posted by Faze at 10:24 AM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


There is a moronic squad of vegans and vegetarians that argues that their diet is the most "natural human diet." Which is a losing strategy in the face of scientific evidence.

They should pretty much stop that tactic and focus on arguing whether their diet is healthier and more ethical NOW.
posted by melissam at 10:25 AM on August 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


"You can't have a large brain and big guts at the same time"

We're heading in the wrong direction then...
posted by Hoenikker at 10:26 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1AVSW_enUS372US372&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=bacon+beer :)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:26 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was just listening to some programme on Radio 4 that was all about how we're not getting enough vitamin D, and how it's far more beneficial for health than had previously been believed, and how vegetarians are particularly at risk from a deficiency. I felt no smugness at all on hearing this deeply troubling news. However, I will say nom nom oily fish and bacon yeeaaah, because that's just the kind of jocular chap I am.
posted by Decani at 10:27 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


*eats Houyhnhnm *
posted by Mister_A at 10:27 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]



I've said it before. Food is a moral choice. Whatever it is you eat, for whatever reason, makes you very, very, bad person. You should feel bad.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:27 AM on August 2, 2010 [25 favorites]


Call me when you can make beer out of bacon
posted by MuffinMan at 10:28 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Now that food is available to the majority of people in an easier form than gathering wild roots and leaves, I'd think that the benefit of meat is diminished. The point is that it was an dense source of easily digested nutrients, not that meat offered anything that was lacking in vegetables like a super brain nutrient (at least as the article states things).

An interesting (uneducated attempt at a) parallel: predatory animals seem to lounge quite a bit (I'm looking at you, house cats), where grazing animals are eating all the time. Cows pose no threat to the human race, it's our house pets we should be worried about.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:29 AM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


I apologize in advance for this, but when I clicked the link and saw the first photo and caption, I immediately thought, "Whoa, vegetarians have way bigger mouths."
posted by Gator at 10:30 AM on August 2, 2010


Sigh.

Not when you can flavor beer with bacon. When you can make beer out of bacon. Or spareribs. Or steak. Or just generally make any kind of consciousness-altering substance from nothing more than, y'know, meat, that's sufficiently entertaining to provide a massive impetus towards inventing agriculture and cities and division of labor and money just so you can make more of it.

Obviously a carnivorous diet has a detrimental effect on reading comprehension.
posted by kipmanley at 10:34 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


how smart do you have to be to sneak up on a blade of grass?

Does anybody but a few survival enthusiasts have the know-how to live on what they can forage?
posted by hydrophonic at 10:36 AM on August 2, 2010


Why is it that Guinness has a slightly bacony smoky taste? Is there any bacon in it?
posted by Mister_A at 10:36 AM on August 2, 2010


I'm with Ann Althouse (my mom) on this one:
Interesting insight into evolution, but it doesn't say anything about what we should eat today. In evolutionary times, gathering plant material and chewing and swallowing enough of it to survive took a lot of energy. Today, we get more than enough. We have "big guts" in a different sense and for a different reason. So burning extra calories digesting low-calorie plants is probably a good idea.

By the way, if the brain uses 20 times as much energy as the equivalent amount of muscle, why can't we lose weight by thinking hard?
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:38 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Obviously a carnivorous diet has a detrimental effect on reading comprehension.

Obviously a vegetarian diet has a detrimental effect on sense of humor. I don't think that muffin or myself was actually suggesting that you can ferment bacon into beer.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:40 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Artw's link suggests a debate between meat-eating or cooking (or, possibly, both) as the catalyst. So it doesn't look like this is very settled.

Also, a step in our evolutionary development is hardly a key to healthy behavior today -- I mean, our distant ancestors were amphibians; would it be healthy for modern humans to try and raise their children underwater? I think this would go badly rather quickly...
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:41 AM on August 2, 2010


Sorry pacifists, but warfare has been responsible for most of humanity's greatest technological advances.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:41 AM on August 2, 2010 [19 favorites]


I'm goin' back to Macon
where my baby's got my bacon
she's smart and so's her grandma
she ate meat
she ate meat
she ate piles and piles of meat
I'm goin' back to Macon
where my baby's got my bacon
I'm gettin' outta here
gimme beer
gimme beer
gimme beer
gimme beer
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:42 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


In evolutionary times

Wut?
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on August 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


For more information on this discussion, I highly recommend Feast: Why Humans Share Food, by Martin Jones, George Pitt-Rivers Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Cambridge. The book is a fascinating, accessible introduction to archaeological science of food habits.

Jones is a friend's former PhD supervisor. I have been reading his book on the commute. Recently, I made my own version of a diagram from the book which depicts "the sequence of food sharing episodes recorded by Giza Teleki in the Gombe reserve during a day-long consumption of a captured colobus monkey."

Yes. I am a nerd.
posted by honest knave at 10:42 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


But in 2001 meat eating started after the invention of tools.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 10:42 AM on August 2, 2010


Cueing moronic nom nom bacon squad in 10, 9, 8....

Well, we already did HURF DURF MEAT EATER last month so it's only fair.
posted by availablelight at 10:43 AM on August 2, 2010


Did you know that some people hate animals so much they refuse to even let molecules from animals combine with their own?
posted by poe at 10:43 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I mean, our distant ancestors were amphibians

Aquatic ape hypothesis
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on August 2, 2010


I'm a die hard meat eater, I'm not giving it up for shit.

That said, I've enjoyed cutting back on how much meat I consume and finding other tasty sources of protein. It's not a either or choice.

nom nom nom nom edamame
posted by nomadicink at 10:44 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Does anybody but a few survival enthusiasts have the know-how to live on what they can forage?

No, but we definitely didn't evolve big brains to have cheesy contrived-situation "Watch me drink my own urine!" survivalists or survivalist TV shows.
posted by XMLicious at 10:44 AM on August 2, 2010


There is a moronic squad of vegans and vegetarians that argues that their diet is the most "natural human diet." Which is a losing strategy in the face of scientific evidence.

Really? I usually hear that type of thing way more from meat eaters claiming vegetarianism and veganism are unnatural.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:44 AM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


There's also plenty of reason to believe that our hominid ancestors were carrion eaters. The fact that we're ill-equipped to digest meat that hasn't rotted a bit is kind of a giveaway all by itself, but there are other hints. As far as how we're constructed, we're better equipped to take advantage of other animals kills than to do the work ourselves. We are categorically not built to chase down a gazelle, for example.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:45 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm a die hard meat eater, I'm not giving it up for shit.

Well, no, I would hope not.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:46 AM on August 2, 2010 [19 favorites]


I don't know about the aquatic ape hypothesis, but the BBC documentary video of the chimps walking upright in waist-deep water is really, really interesting.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:47 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not that I expect it to head off a good old fashioned primate-style shit flinging match, but I heard this piece on the way to work this morning, and the "sorry vegetarians" quip was just a reporter trying to jazz up his copy, not an actual scientist saying anything about eating meat making you smarter, or vegetarians being stupid.

The overall idea was that, compared to a diet of raw vegetable matter (leaves, berries, roots, and the odd nut), eating meat created an energy surplus that allowed us to support a much more sophisticated brain, instead of having to spend most of our calories maintaining the complex digestive system we needed to get those calories out of the roots and leaves.

As noted upthread, we then used that bigger brain to make even more efficient food systems, both through cooking food (specifically discussed in the piece) so we could more efficiently get the calories out of what we did eat, and by creating settled agricultural civilizations that could produce food in such vastly greater quantities that how efficiently you could digest it more or less stopped being an issue.
posted by Naberius at 10:50 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


But in 2001 meat eating started after the invention of tools.

And in Eyes Wide Shut a couple's rocky relationship was fixed by ... what the hell was that movie about again?
posted by griphus at 10:50 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


The article might as well be, "Sorry, peace-lovers, but waging war apparently made our ancestors Americansto take over a large section of North America, and to become the most powerful nation on Earth"

The correct answer of course is balancing War for defense, and Peace for science and the arts, to create a more healthy nation. Healthy people are the result of a well-balanced diet, not a near-carnivorous diet, nor a raw-foods vegan diet.

Vegetarianism itself is a very modern creation given the long history of the human species. Meat isn't good for the human diet because of a distinct meatiness, we just need proteins, certain vitamins, and fats. In these modern times, we can easily get whatever we need without actually needing to slaughter animals. The lede that's really buried in the article? Cooking is what really helped.

I also sometimes like to ponder how many of these, "vegetarians are weird" folks would be totally squicked out if they actually had to chase down, kill, and slaughter an animal, and then eat it without cooking it first.
posted by explosion at 10:51 AM on August 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Cueing moronic nom nom bacon squad in 10, 9, 8....

Cueing butthurt vegan squad in....oh wait.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:52 AM on August 2, 2010


Everyone needs to make the same dietary choices I did or there will be hell to pay. This goes for smartphones as well.
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:52 AM on August 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


In AI the aliens are our robot descendants in the future... and a fucking voice over starts two thirds of the way into the movie. A fucking voice over! Look, you either have one their from the start, or you don't have one. If you're going to bring one in at least do it right at the very end... fucks sake...
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


what the hell was that movie about again?

Fucking.
posted by nomadicink at 10:56 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


what the hell was that movie about again?

It might be about Kubrick questioning Cruise's sexuality without getting sued. But I've always liked Tim Kreider's essay.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:57 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


We are categorically not built to chase down a gazelle, for example.

But pretty good at hunting them down. I mean, tool making and low cunning have to fit into the equation, no?
posted by IndigoJones at 10:58 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wasn't it around here that the Donner Party got snowbound?
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on August 2, 2010


We are categorically not built to chase down a gazelle, for example.

But we did it anyway!

HUMANITY, FUCK YEAH!! Suck it, lizards, your day has past!
posted by nomadicink at 10:59 AM on August 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Tags for this post: Studies this week...; Strawmen Eating Straw Dogs; Herp Derpery
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 11:00 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


what the hell was that movie about again?

NICOLE: You're not so hot. I would totally bang that Navy guy.
TOM: So would I. Wait, did I say that out loud? I meant, I would totally cheat on you, too.
NICOLE: Prove it.

Tom doesn't quite PROVE IT.

TOM: I think I'll stay home. Tell me about this Navy guy again.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:00 AM on August 2, 2010 [11 favorites]


This topic would have been a lot better without the asinine framing. 99.9% of vegetarians will tell you to eat meat when survival is at stake, as it was for primitive humans every day. The point is that switching to meat from gathering wild plants led to an increase in available energy. You know what the next major change was? Agriculture blowing away hunting for meat in providing available energy. Had they understood nutrition and domestication well enough and had access to the right plants they could have given up meat entirely. We are at the point now where that is an option for anyone who chooses it for whatever reasons in first world societies.

It's an interesting story about our history and how we came to be, it doesn't need to be framed with the flame war in mind.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:01 AM on August 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


We are categorically not built to chase down a gazelle, for example.

Define "chase down." A human can outrun gazelles and horses at marathon distances. And then stab them to death with sharp sticks.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:03 AM on August 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


HUMANITY, FUCK YEAH!! Suck it, lizards, your day has past!

Eat tarpit and die, megafauna!
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


In evolutionary times, gathering plant material and chewing and swallowing enough of it to survive took a lot of energy.

Did evolutionary times stop recently?

I think the smarter point to make is that we probably ate all kind of crazy parts of animals - brains, intestines, jibbly little bits of the liver. They probably contained a lot of nutrients that we don't get from eating just muscle meat and fat piled high with salt and sugar. And even then we probably had weird hankerings for plants that were nearby. Eating apex predators, or just other animals at the top of a vegetable food chain means you're eating all of the toxins from their environment. That wasn't a big deal before the industrial revolution. Now you can't even have raw fish if you're preggers.

Since we don't eat those parts of the animals, finding the most balanced diet of bits of meat that provide stuff plants can't, a variety of vegetables, and some sunlight is the ticket. As Michael Pollen said, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Virtually none of us live in a natural environment anymore, it's a little hard to guess at what we should be eating. We can use some historical observations of native tribes, and maybe some modern observations of the Maasai tribe.

By the way, if the brain uses 20 times as much energy as the equivalent amount of muscle, why can't we lose weight by thinking hard?

Because your brain is always using the same amount of energy. Whether you are using it for thinking is irrelevant. Well, irrelevant for burning calories. As a Bald American, I much prefer the totally fabricated hypothesis that smarter and sexier brains run hotter, but the only possible side effect is a receding hairline.
posted by atypicalguy at 11:04 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


But pretty good at hunting them down.

You think an unaided human could compete with a lion or cheetah in its own niche? Not a prayer.

I mean, tool making and low cunning have to fit into the equation, no?

It's very unlikely that we developed the tools to hunt game directly. It's much more likely that we chipped rock to make tools to help crack bones for marrow, and developed spears first to chase away competitors, and perhaps second to running predators away from their own kills. Only after these tools were actually useful would we have a hope of even starting to use them competitively in hunting our own game. It's most likely that hunting is a very recent development in evolutionary terms.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:04 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


WE CAN GO INTO MOTHERFUCKING SPACE.

Show me a gazelle that can do that.
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


*human* evolutionary terms, of course.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:06 AM on August 2, 2010



Everyone needs to make the same dietary choices I did or there will be hell to pay. This goes for smartphones as well.

I get this, and I used to be a really strong "live and let live" kind of guy. The problem is, in the last decade or so it's really dawned on me what I and mine have to pay for the various externalized costs of other people's choices.

There is simply no way that we should be eating as much animal protein as we now do. And what is the consequence of everyone's insatiable desire to eat chicken wings and 99 cent burgers? Huge lagoons full of shit and decaying matter full of pathogens that fuck up the environment I have to live in. And everyone here knows that that is only one of a host of externalized costs associated with excessive meat consumption.

The vegetarian vs. meat eaters debate is phony and distracts from the real issue: everyone in the developed world should be eating a whole lot less meet (it's probably safe to say by a factor of 10). See meet-eating foody Mark Bittman's TED talk on this.
posted by mondo dentro at 11:06 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


And why do we need to be space-capable? So we can launch Intercontinental Ballistic Clovis Points, obviously.
posted by Artw at 11:06 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is a moronic squad of vegans and vegetarians that argues that their diet is the most "natural human diet."

I was raised with the religious version. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve only ate plants....
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:14 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


We are categorically not built to chase down a gazelle, for example.

Here are some Bushman demonstrating exactly why were are built to do exactly that. The human cooling system is superior over long distance, allowing us to persistence hunt animals like gazelle, who eventually collapse with heat exhaustion.
posted by melissam at 11:15 AM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


I also sometimes like to ponder how many of these, "vegetarians are weird" folks would be totally squicked out if they actually had to chase down, kill, and slaughter an animal, and then eat it without cooking it first.

I've done this. It was not bloody or gory like I expected it to be and yes, I ate part of it raw. I question how many of the "OMG meat is like totally gross and hard to get" squad have experience with hunting, slaughtering, or eating raw meat. I also wonder how many of those people enjoy sushi or steak tartare.
posted by melissam at 11:18 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The human cooling system is superior over long distance, allowing us to persistence hunt animals like gazelle, who eventually collapse with heat exhaustion.

You got that gazelles?! Who's your daddy now?!
posted by nomadicink at 11:19 AM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


If eating meat made us smart, does a vegetarian diet then make us degenerate(s)?
posted by ReWayne at 11:19 AM on August 2, 2010


we're better equipped to take advantage of other animals kills than to do the work ourselves.

I heard the story on the radio this morning, and I believe this was part of one of the observations - apparently there is some sort of biological marker showing that humans and canines have swapped saliva in the past, as would happen if you were feasting on the remnants of a canine-killed corpse.

As you can see I wasn't listening all that closely, but a more careful listen might reveal more about that detail.
posted by Miko at 11:20 AM on August 2, 2010


We are totally part ebola. Woo hoo!
posted by Artw at 11:23 AM on August 2, 2010


Feeding vegetables to kids? That's abuse. How can you expect them to do well in school?

My kids, they're going on the Atkins diet. All the chicken they can eat, and IQs off the chart.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:27 AM on August 2, 2010


I'm sorry I didn't read all the answers so far, but can I guess a logical conclusion of "eating meat made us smart enough to choose vegetarianism?"
posted by rhizome at 11:27 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


By the way, if the brain uses 20 times as much energy as the equivalent amount of muscle, why can't we lose weight by thinking hard?

Eating tons of junk food is practically impossible during vigorous physical activity, but it's very easy to snack on all sorts of crap while you're thinking/studying/etc.
posted by PsychoKick at 11:34 AM on August 2, 2010


I strangled a chicken once.
posted by Decani at 11:34 AM on August 2, 2010


What the fuck, thread? I don't eat meat because it requires my participation in an ugly and cruel system of torture, unnatural and unhealthy foods, and a squandering of natural resources on the part of Americans out of proportion to the rest of the world.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:35 AM on August 2, 2010 [16 favorites]


I believe this was part of one of the observations - apparently there is some sort of biological marker showing that humans and canines have swapped saliva in the past,

It said in this article that the closest relative of the human tapeworm is a tapeworm found in canine/hyena species, that might be evidence for this theory. And then I kind of had to close that tab because TAPEWORMS.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:39 AM on August 2, 2010


Eating plants is as ethically challenged as eating meats. Who are you to decide which life is killable for sustenance? To make that choice and then to hold judgement over those who made simply a different choice is hypocrisy. If you are against deforestation and the destruction of coral reefs, it must be because you hold these organisms in high regard, that you do not want to see them hurt. But lettuce, lettuce is a just a little thing? Fah, says I. Imagine a tiny seed dropped into the soil; desperately thirsty, it pushes a root deep into the ground until it can find sustenance. Then it grows and flowers and reproduces and has little plants of its own. And you would take everything from this little plant? steal its life, it's offspring? uproot it just to eat? or have them grown in some dismal factory farm where they are sprayed with poisons until the day they're torn from the earth to be thrown in a truck crammed with former friends, driven to the store for vegetarian americans to devour in a gluttonous feast, sating their rapacious appetites for our greener friends? shame on all of you.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 11:43 AM on August 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Also, someone mentioned that predators lounge about while grazers spend the day eating. Not having to spend all day foraging to meet caloric requirements would free up a lot of time for all sorts of early human behaviors I would think.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 11:47 AM on August 2, 2010


Who are you to decide which life is killable for sustenance?

Most people think that they're at least authoritative enough to rule out cannibalism.
posted by XMLicious at 11:48 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Having grown up on a bison ranch I can testify that the way we grow our meat is neither cruel nor inhumane. Can't speak for large factory farms though. :(
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:52 AM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Eating plants is as ethically challenged as eating meats etc. etc.

The worst part of being a vegetarian is hearing the same old jokey bad-faith arguments over and over.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:53 AM on August 2, 2010 [17 favorites]


If you are against deforestation and the destruction of coral reefs, it must be because you hold these organisms in high regard, that you do not want to see them hurt.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 2:43 PM on August 2


Now, I'm firmly on the carnivore side when it comes to eating choices but you do know this statement of yours is just all kinds of incorrect, right?
posted by Decani at 11:57 AM on August 2, 2010


There are vegetarians who do not eat meat for spiritual purposes.
There are vegetarians who do not eat meat for health reasons
There are vegans who do not eat anything with eyes
There are some folks who combine some of the above
the rest of us don't give a rat's ass and eat any and all things that are halal.
posted by Postroad at 11:57 AM on August 2, 2010


The best part of being a vegetarian is how transparently guilty it apparently makes everyone else feel such that they feel immensely defensive and try to justify their meat eating by attacking your personal choices.

Guess what guys! I don't care if you eat meat! Have fun! Leave me alone!
posted by shakespeherian at 11:58 AM on August 2, 2010 [23 favorites]


Wrangham explains that cooking also led to some of the finer elements of human behavior: it encourages people to share labor; it brings families and communities together at the end of the day and encourages conversation and story-telling — all very human activities.

I am not a raw foodist, but how is any of that different with eating (prepared) raw food?

I was just listening to some programme on Radio 4 that was all about how we're not getting enough vitamin D, and how it's far more beneficial for health than had previously been believed, and how vegetarians are particularly at risk from a deficiency.

Wouldn't sunblock be a bigger culprit then vegetarianism?

"That means a few minutes in the summer sun produces 100 times more vitamin D than the government says you need!"

Personally, I'm blaming sunblock for the 2000-2009 decade.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:59 AM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The worst part of being a vegetarian is hearing the same old jokey bad-faith arguments over and over.

No, the worst part of being a vegetarian is learning to live with the fact that in any social event, you are just a "side-dish eating mother fucker."
posted by mrgrimm at 12:00 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The best part of being a vegetarian is how transparently guilty it apparently makes everyone else feel such that they feel immensely defensive and try to justify their meat eating by attacking your personal choices.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:58 PM on August 2


Not me, mate. I don't feel any guilt at all at my choice to be an omnivore. I've heard the pro-vegetarian arguments and yes, I find some of them to be very solid. Not solid enough, however, to counter the reasoning that led to my own pro-meat-eating position. This is a subject I have little interest in arguing about because I've thought my position through, I'm comfortable with it and hey, as long as no veggie fascists ever arise who actually try to stop me eating meat, I'm totally live-and-let-live about it. So, apart from occasionally failing to resist the temptation to yank the chain of the more spart-like people on both sides of the argument, I'm pretty hands-off.
posted by Decani at 12:04 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


We are categorically not built to chase down a gazelle, for example.

Actually, we are.

Humans can cool their bodies via sweating while running. Furred animals, such as a gazelle, cannot cool themselves while running, since they use panting to cool.

So if you run long enough, the animal will tire and collapse. This is called persistence hunting.

The main topic is the influence of cooking on human physiological development. Cooking is hugely beneficial in allowing people to get maximum nutrition from vegetables and meat by making it much easy on the digestive track. I saw a documentary that described that you get 10 time more energy from a cooked root vegetable from a raw one.

Raw food is an interest treat, but I think it's clear we are categorically not built to survive on a raw food, no meat diet.
posted by Argyle at 12:05 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Really? I usually hear that type of thing way more from meat eaters claiming vegetarianism and veganism are unnatural.

While I don't make my vegetarianism a secret, I mention it as little as possible. I don't bring it up it when I'm at a restaurants or eating at another's table: I simply order vegetable-only dishes. I don't push my views on anyone. I only tell people when I'm asked. Even then I'm very polite and reticent.

Despite my extreme contentiousness, when people find out I'm a vegetarian they go out of their way to embarrass me. They also respond to the news with their own uninvited opinions and condemnation of my diet. Nearly every vegetarian I know behaves as I do, and encounters the same reaction.

The obnoxious radical vegetarian who spoils your party is a myth. I have never met her. No one I know has met her. She is a phantasm of your own mind that you project upon others. Her image must represent some cognitive conflict: maybe guilt, maybe shame, maybe fear. I really don't know and I no longer care. All I know is that when you treat vegetarians this way you sound exactly like what you imagine them to be.
posted by clarknova at 12:11 PM on August 2, 2010 [30 favorites]


WE CAN GO INTO MOTHERFUCKING SPACE.

Show me a gazelle that can do that.


Um. With the U.S. and Europe half-bankrupted by greedy rich assholes and the U.S. space program consequently cut back to the point we'll have a significant gap between the Space Shuttle and whatever the heck they're going to slap together to follow it up with in the wake of the Constellation cancellation, I couldn't crow *quite* that loudly, fellow hominid.
posted by aught at 12:12 PM on August 2, 2010


Show me a gazelle that can do that.

Um. With the U.S. and Europe half-bankrupted by greedy rich assholes and the U.S. space program consequently cut back to the point we'll have a significant gap between the Space Shuttle and whatever the heck they're going to slap together to follow it up with in the wake of the Constellation cancellation, I couldn't crow *quite* that loudly, fellow hominid.


So, we can fail to go into MOTHERFUCKING space because of budgetary constraints due to fiscal mismanagement and political bickering over misguided priorities.

Show me a gazelle that can do that.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:15 PM on August 2, 2010 [16 favorites]


Um. With the U.S. and Europe half-bankrupted by greedy rich assholes and the U.S. space program consequently cut back to the point we'll have a significant gap between the Space Shuttle and whatever the heck they're going to slap together to follow it up with in the wake of the Constellation cancellation, I couldn't crow *quite* that loudly, fellow hominid.

Try: RICHARD BRANSON CAN GO INTO MOTHERFUCKING SPACE
posted by shakespeherian at 12:16 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the issue is that we are at a learning capacity now that eating meat won't actually help. We also don't actually know:
1. How much meat?
2. What kinds?
3. How was the meat raised?
4. What parts of the animal?
5. How often?
posted by parmanparman at 12:23 PM on August 2, 2010


Biological determinists represent, yo.
posted by xod at 12:26 PM on August 2, 2010


The Russians and Chinese still have manned launch capability! Clearly they need to team-up post haste to install an abbatoir module on the ISS and get some cows up there.
posted by Artw at 12:28 PM on August 2, 2010


Way back in Anthro class we had a big discussion about the eating of bone marrow being suspected as a big reason our brains and capacities suddenly grew so rapidly, what with its densely packed proteins and all. I dunno, just sharing.

Also, bone marrow is actually pretty tasty.
posted by TomMelee at 12:36 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


But lettuce, lettuce is a just a little thing? Fah, says I.

Those little lettuce heads need not die all at once. They can be given life in your local backyard garden, then periodically tortured by having their leaves torn off for that night's salad.

Doesn't that option make you feel better??
posted by bearwife at 12:37 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, we did descend from omnivores. There are advantages in being generalists.

Attributing /anything/ else to that in the modern era is stupid.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:40 PM on August 2, 2010


The obnoxious radical vegetarian who spoils your party is a myth. I have never met her. No one I know has met her. She is a phantasm of your own mind that you project upon others. Her image must represent some cognitive conflict: maybe guilt, maybe shame, maybe fear. I really don't know and I no longer care. All I know is that when you treat vegetarians this way you sound exactly like what you imagine them to be.

You should meet my mom. She's the one who said to my wife "I don't know how you can eat that flesh!" in a loud disgusted voice over Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws a couple of years back. Everything stopped in a heartbeat. Conversation, movement, everything.

Ever seen 15 people stop shoveling turkey and all the fixin's into their mouths, freeze for a moment and then turn and stare at you in horror because your guest has just ruined their delicious Thanksgiving dinner? It's not a pleasant experience. Nowadays when I get together with one of her uncles, he routinely gives me a look and says, "And how's your mom? She still eating rabbit food and ruining people's holiday meals?"

Just because you've never interacted with someone who acted like a reformed smoker on a mission about their vegetarianism doesn't mean they don't exist.
posted by zarq at 12:49 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


tread tl;dr so this well may be a repeat, blame my addled brain.

Somehow I doubt over-consumption of factory raised forced fed live stock is what made us smart. As a partial vegetarian I have no problem with the consumption of meat from a local, best-practices source on a limited basis. I do have an issue with eating meat just because it is available and cheap, that is mindless behavior.

In my opinion you should, as a basic starting point, be willing to kill what you eat.

Yeah, I tend to agree that the huge amount of caloric availability hunting provided is at least partially responsible for our larger brains, but hunting was only part of the equation, and not necessarily the most important part of basic survival.
posted by edgeways at 12:53 PM on August 2, 2010


apparently there is some sort of biological marker showing that humans and canines have swapped saliva in the past

Damn sexy dogs.
posted by ryoshu at 12:53 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


You should meet my mom.

That is very strange behavior for a mom. Usually moms are the ones who are constantly fretting about how it isn't healthy to just eat vegetables, I'm so worried about you! Or, like my wife's mom, who, once, while we were at their house for my wife's birthday, made beef stew for the birthday dinner. Once my wife had reminded her, once again, that she doesn't eat meat, her mom went 'Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot!' (AGAIN) and proceeded to pick beef chunks out of the stew and then serve it.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:57 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Damn sexy dogs.

♪ And they called it... ♫ puppy love. ♬
posted by zarq at 12:57 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


and yeah there are complete assholes on "both sides" of the veg/meateatin' divide, the real idiocy is taking those case examples and holding a grudge against an entire group of people based on it. We (rightfully) try hard to be fair to all Muslims, because we know all Muslims are not murder-happy fanatics, so why do we not ascribe the same mindset to vegetarians / meat eaters.

Oh

right

because we are inconvenienced.
posted by edgeways at 12:58 PM on August 2, 2010


By the way, if the brain uses 20 times as much energy as the equivalent amount of muscle, why can't we lose weight by thinking hard?

Eating tons of junk food is practically impossible during vigorous physical activity, but it's very easy to snack on all sorts of crap while you're thinking/studying/etc.

I'm going to guess that once you have your large brain and the consciousness to go along with it, the additional energy needed to be a super-genius is minimal. There isn't a huge structural difference between proving Fermat's last theorem and sitting on the couch watching Jersey Shore.

(I'm not sure if that's depressing or reassuring! Maybe it's both.)

I bet you'd burn more calories playing a video game than solving a difficult puzzle, since video games can raise your adrenaline. Unless you really, really like puzzles, I suppose.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:09 PM on August 2, 2010


Clearly they need to team-up post haste to install an abbatoir module on the ISS and get some cows up there.

We'd call it "The herd shot 'round the world!"
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:09 PM on August 2, 2010 [20 favorites]


Just because you've never interacted with someone who acted like a reformed smoker on a mission about their vegetarianism doesn't mean they don't exist.

It's true. I have met a few, and I have have read slightly more vegetarian screeds that were kind of unpleasant and embarrassing to read. (We learned to cook all those millennia ago so you could write that? Really?) I have met way more weirdly defensive "omnivores" (which usually seems to mean "I eat vegetables if they are included on the plate with my steak."), though. Maybe that's just my experience.

In the interests of full disclosure, I am an omnivore; I eat just about everything, although I cook a lot less meat at home than I used to because it's kind of a hassle and I just got a bunch of great vegan and vegetarian cookbooks which are taking up a lot of my "food imagination" these days. So I truly do not have a dog (sexy or otherwise) in this fight.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:18 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


My diet is omnivore-tastic!
posted by thebenman at 1:24 PM on August 2, 2010


There isn't a huge structural difference between proving Fermat's last theorem and sitting on the couch watching Jersey Shore.

True. But interestingly enough, there is apparently evidence that reading burns more calories than watching TV. (No word on what sort of reading material or TV show watching produced this evidence.)
posted by bearwife at 1:33 PM on August 2, 2010


No word on what sort of reading material or TV show watching produced this evidence.

TV Guide v. The Wire
posted by shakespeherian at 1:47 PM on August 2, 2010


Good, so nothing's changed since Plato wrote The Republic in 380 BC.
posted by Elmore at 2:03 PM on August 2, 2010



The human cooling system is superior over long distance, allowing us to persistence hunt animals like gazelle, who eventually collapse with heat exhaustion.


Five bucks says I collapse with heat exhaustion before the gazelle does.

WE CAN GO INTO MOTHERFUCKING SPACE.

Show me a gazelle that can do that.

TECHNICALLY, sir, fruit flies and corn seeds were the first living things in space, followed by moss and rhesus monkeys. Dogs, mice, guinea pigs, frogs, tortises parasitic wasps, flour beetles, bacteria, fungi, ameboae, fish, rats, tortises, spiders, stick insects, crickets, snails, fertilized chicken eggs, newts, sea urchins, silk worms, bees, water bears, mexican jumping beans, Madagascar hissing cockaroaches, and sea monkeys have also been in space.
posted by Comrade_robot at 2:07 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Five bucks says I collapse with heat exhaustion before the gazelle does.

A likely outcome, meaning you will not have any more children and any that you do have will suffer hardship.

My children benefit because I get your gazelle. I eat your gazelle! I eat it up!

Survival of the fittest ftw!
posted by Argyle at 2:58 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I drink your gazelle-shake!
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Next you'll be telling us that because capitalism made us productive enough to make socialism possible, it should go on forever.
posted by Wataki at 3:00 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


All of this shit is full of so much shit. It's not wrong to eat meat, it's not wrong to be a vegan, it might not be super healthy to eat only raw vegetables (plants and animals are equally alive was my point before, and that ethical decisions about killing one, but not the other are foolish). It is, however, stupid to claim superiority or to feel inferiority over these dietary choices. A vegetarian diet is more sustainable than a livestock based diet (until we can grow tasty tasty meat in a lab, at least), and it makes your poop smell better (not likely to change); if these are things that dominate your conscious, perhaps this is the choice for you. A bacon diet will make you fat and happy much faster. Humans are omnivores, like bears or raccoons or certain simians. We can eat meat happily, but can just as happily thrive on other nutrient sources. The 'natural' human diet seems to be obviously omnivorous, but as noted we are now capable of making our own choices and surviving without much trouble. Anyone who disagrees with me is wrong. thread over.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 3:53 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


There isn't a huge structural difference between proving Fermat's last theorem and sitting on the couch watching Jersey Shore.

Ah, the Snookinacci sequence: E equals booty pop squared.
posted by y2karl at 3:55 PM on August 2, 2010


plants and animals are equally alive was my point before, and that ethical decisions about killing one, but not the other are foolish

This is why it's just as acceptable to eat people, right?
posted by me & my monkey at 4:02 PM on August 2, 2010


The problem is, in the last decade or so it's really dawned on me what I and mine have to pay for the various externalized costs of other people's choices.

Yes, as long as we breathe the same air and eat the same food, this has always been and will always be true. However, the relevant question is the size of the externalized cost relative to the necessary restrictions in free choices in order to eliminate that cost. We, as a society, allow three mechanisms: persuasion, cost allocation, and legal remedy. I would say this should be addressed by the first two, but definitely not the third. There are much bigger costs that we have yet to outlaw (think traffic deaths and cigarettes), but I think that food production and consumption are becoming obvious ones that we definitely should be using the first two tools on.

And while I agree that we may be able to reduce meat consumption, the challenge is to do so and maintain adequate protein levels, especially for children. For all its ills, the Western diet seems to increase the size and health of transplanted children. For a quick anecdote, look at the Asian immigrants second generation compared to the first. Figuring out how to do this with reduced meat consumption and with reducing the impact of our (the world's) agricultural system will take some brains and effort. So we need to eat more meat? Doh!
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:24 PM on August 2, 2010


cooking created society
fermentation created civilization
distillation created industry

see where this is heading?
posted by warbaby at 4:41 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


@ me & my monkey
yes, if that's your choice. I imagine you'd have a harder time sustaining yourself off of something so readily punished by our society, but it's just as ethical or unethical.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 4:56 PM on August 2, 2010


For all its ills, the Western diet seems to increase the size and health of transplanted children.

That size thing is going like gangbusters.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:58 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


KingoftheWhales, I'm a lot more interested in discussing the ethics of consumption within the context of a society and planet, not just within the biological parameters of what my teeth are shaped like.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:59 PM on August 2, 2010


Look, KingoftheWhales, if you're going to be reasonable on a Metafilter thread, you can just get the hell out now!
posted by grubi at 5:20 PM on August 2, 2010


cooking created society
fermentation created civilization
distillation created industry


Weed created popular music.

HELL YES
posted by grubi at 5:21 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


You god damn milk suckers. Milk suckers, every last one of you.
posted by benzenedream at 5:50 PM on August 2, 2010


I imagine you'd have a harder time sustaining yourself off of something so readily punished by our society, but it's just as ethical or unethical.

That doesn't comport with most people's understanding of ethics, whether they eat meat or not. Your idea of ethics doesn't seem like a useful guide to behavior.
posted by me & my monkey at 6:30 PM on August 2, 2010


The obnoxious radical vegetarian who spoils your party is a myth.

Yeah, to be fair, the zealotry of the recently converted is not unheard of. I'm still wincing about my father's reply-all email about Thanksgiving dinner when he gave up the meat. Luckily, most people realize they aren't going to win anybody over by lecturing to them directly, so it's a short-lived phase. (...which usually happens in college. Sorry, Dad.)

Mental Wimp, I've never heard of anybody outside of the Jainists propose that it's wrong to eat something that was once alive. There are differences between a plant and an animal that are so evident that they're hardly worth discussing. Show me a plant with a nerve cell and I'll happy strike it from my grocery list--and I'm not even a true vegetarian, for that matter.

By the way, Running After Antelopes is one heck of a great episode of This American Life.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:05 PM on August 2, 2010


In like manner, the automobile helped our society to grow as large as it has.

Now that we're here, it would be advantageous to make some choices about how we could best use our resources.

Not doing so could cause consequences we don't want.
posted by fontor at 7:09 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is why it's just as acceptable to eat people, right?

I imagine you'd have a harder time sustaining yourself off of something so readily punished by our society, but it's just as ethical or unethical.

That doesn't comport with most people's understanding of ethics, whether they eat meat or not. Your idea of ethics doesn't seem like a useful guide to behavior.

Guys, guys calm down. Just make sure the people you are eating are middle eastern and preferably muslim...problem solved.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:57 PM on August 2, 2010


Or Africans but you can't kill them directly you have to let them starve to death first. Or die of AIDS but it's usually not a good idea to eat those ones.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:58 PM on August 2, 2010


umm
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:23 PM on August 2, 2010


Meat & Livestock Australia has been doing a series of ads over the last few years based on "Red meat - we were meant to eat it" (SLYT).
posted by Wantok at 10:29 PM on August 2, 2010


Cueing moronic nom nom bacon squad in 10, 9, 8....

Have you ever actually tasted bacon, you epic dipshit? Get off my planet.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:04 AM on August 3, 2010


You should meet my mom.

But that's got less to do with being vegetarian and more to do with being generally obnoxious.

Sorry to speak about your mum that way, umm....

Your mum's so fat, she was measured at 38-26-36 and that was just the left arm!

I find humour makes it easier.
posted by ImsoAeriginal at 5:22 AM on August 3, 2010


What the hell happened in here?
posted by shakespeherian at 5:31 AM on August 3, 2010


What the hell happened in here?

Wars of religion. I love eating meat and shall never surrender it, but I also love eating salads of all sorts and so many delicious vegetables.

So I have no place in society!
posted by grubi at 6:42 AM on August 3, 2010


Well then consider yourself shunned.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:04 AM on August 3, 2010


Or Africans but you can't kill them directly you have to let them starve to death first. Or die of AIDS but it's usually not a good idea to eat those ones.

Jesus christ, give it a rest.
posted by cortex at 7:57 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Jesus christ, give it a rest.

Too soon?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:55 AM on August 3, 2010


"By the way, if the brain uses 20 times as much energy as the equivalent amount of muscle, why can't we lose weight by thinking hard?"

I've heard that chess masters can burn 7000 calories per day, via intense thinking -- may be apocryphal.
posted by JimDe at 10:09 AM on August 3, 2010


Too soon?

Too pointlessly shit-stirry. Too obnoxiously No, Really, It's Funny Because It's Edgy. Your comments in this thread have been crappy, and it's becoming a trend. Please give this sort of shit a rest.
posted by cortex at 10:13 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


[Seriously, write me an email or take it to metatalk if you need to, but picking random threads to Fight The System in is not gonna work.]
posted by cortex at 11:00 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hearing about the unpleasant reaction other vegetarians/vegans have met makes me feel very sad, and very lucky that I've had none of the same experience since becoming mainly vegetarian a couple of years ago. I guess some people are just a better class of people, and I've somehow lucked into having a circle of friends who are unbelievably awesome.

(Either that or I'm 185cm and 110KG, and people not talking shit to my face is simple and sensible self-preservation. But I prefer to think it's the awesome friends thing.)

No, the worst part of being a vegetarian is learning to live with the fact that in any social event, you are just a "side-dish eating mother fucker."

That might be true in your imagination. In my reality my dishes are some of the most sought after at any event. I make a dal that always has people begging me for the recipe. People have no idea that there's no meat in my chilli. So, basically, whatever.

In fact the most common reaction is that when we cook shared meals, my friends cook entirely vegetarian meals. Which was a really surprising and heart warming thing with most of them. Unfortunately it turns out that some meat & two vege types really can't cook at all (at all! they're clueless!) so cooking a vegetarian meal meant cooking... some potatoes. No protein at all. Nothing green. Nothing fresh. Thankfully that's only one couple, and I learned to (at least to an extent) take over the cooking when we got together at their place.

As for me, I don't know that my current fairly strict vegetarianism is going to stick in the long term, but I really find the idea of eating an animal raised in a cage to be absolutely abhorrent, immoral, and unpalatable. And that's where most bacon comes from. Pigs are too wonderful to treat like that. Pork is really delicious, it's worth paying a bit more to eat pigs that were well cared for.

Whatever it is that you eat, think about why you're eating it. Think about what it really is. And only eat the good stuff. Animals that were raised well, treated well, and meals that have been prepared with exquisite care. I think your life will be better for it. Whether it includes meat or not.

This might only be true for me, I haven't asked anyone else about it, but I think it's the same as drinking an occasional coke, if you guzzle coke all day every day straight from a plastic bottle, it's just nothing. On the other hand, if you have a glass of ice cold coke every few months it's a really delicious treat.

And you don't get diabetes and go blind.
posted by The Monkey at 9:03 AM on August 4, 2010


Please to be providing recipe for vegetarian chili indistinguishable from meat chili (for anyone who has ever actually had meat chili).
posted by Mitheral at 10:41 AM on August 4, 2010


No, the worst part of being a vegetarian is learning to live with the fact that in any social event, you are just a "side-dish eating mother fucker."

...

That might be true in your imagination. In my reality my dishes are some of the most sought after at any event. I make a dal that always has people begging me for the recipe. People have no idea that there's no meat in my chilli. So, basically, whatever.


I'm not talking about a block-party potluck or making dinner with friends. Sure, when I contribute there's usually going to be some decent vegetarian food. At our daycare parties, nearly all the food is vegetarian.

I'm talking about: company picnics; birthday parties; restaurants you didn't choose; baseball games; music festivals; bowling alleys; amusement parks; school functions; airports; museums ...

I'm happy that you're an outstanding vegetarian cook. Kudos.

However, from my two decades not eating meat, I will still advise: if you are planning to attend a public event with "food," be prepared to eat some motherfucking side dishes or salad. If you're lucky.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:05 AM on August 4, 2010


me & my monkey: "That doesn't comport with most people's understanding of ethics, whether they eat meat or not. Your idea of ethics doesn't seem like a useful guide to behavior."

A "useful guide to behavior" is not ethics, it's morality.
posted by rhizome at 1:39 PM on August 4, 2010


Metafilter: a side-dish eating mother fucker.
posted by benzenedream at 2:20 PM on August 4, 2010


Oh, what a shame! All I have is mashed potatos and cole slaw! However will I survive on this terrible gruel!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:27 PM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please to be providing recipe for vegetarian chili indistinguishable from meat chili (for anyone who has ever actually had meat chili).

When you say "meat chili" do you mean the competition-style chili that isn't actually allowed to contain any beans? 'Cos if so, that's not the kind of chili I'm talking about.
posted by The Monkey at 11:25 PM on August 4, 2010


No, just chili that contains meat. EG: I put about a pound of pork into 80 pints of borscht. Even that little amount gives the borscht a bit of a meat flavour. I'd love to make vegetarian chili that is indistinguishable from a chili that is even as little as a few percent meat.
posted by Mitheral at 10:22 AM on August 5, 2010


The article is part of an ongoing series on human evolution, btw: The Human Edge
posted by homunculus at 9:17 PM on August 9, 2010



No, just chili that contains meat. EG: I put about a pound of pork into 80 pints of borscht. Even that little amount gives the borscht a bit of a meat flavour. I'd love to make vegetarian chili that is indistinguishable from a chili that is even as little as a few percent meat.


I use a mix of Tofu, Quorn, and mushrooms and otherwise the same old recipe, but YMMV, especially if you are a meat eater and have different standards of what you expect from meat like substances.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:41 AM on August 10, 2010


We do that too fuxiousxgeorge; still wouldn't mind a vegetarian option that is indistinguishable.
posted by Mitheral at 9:31 AM on August 10, 2010


I'm not at home, so don't have recipe to hand, but lo I've had a half-finished version of the recipe waiting to be published on one of my sites since December last year. :)

Have hastily added instructions to pull it together into something (hopefully) useful:
http://www.the-monkey.net/2010/08/12/delicious-vegetarian-chili/

Will update recipe later if I notice anything important missing.
posted by The Monkey at 2:13 AM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


David Kirby on The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms on Humans and the Environment. "We need more regulations, and we need enforcement of the regulations," Kirby says. "These [food] companies are self-policing, and they are operating on the honor system, and consumers are obviously paying the price."
posted by homunculus at 9:42 AM on August 24, 2010


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