During this morning's On Being, Dan Barber was asked by an audience member why he isn't a vegetarian. He noted that he gets defensive when asked this question, remarking that vegetarians do not live on a higher ethical plane because their diets leave them "with blood on their hands," too. Mr. Barber need not feel threatened if he hears this question as curiosity, not challenge, a chance to converse, not argue. He openly asserts that his approach to food is hedonistic, and he can just answer the question on the basis of that philosophy: There is enjoyment, sensual pleasure, in eating meat. It is difficult to relax and enjoy a meal if we assume the people we're eating with are judging our morality with every bite, constructing elaborate arguments to attack what's on our plates and defend what's on their own. Food choices are intensely personal, like all choices made from the body. Dan Barber's deep thinking about food has led him to an omni vorous diet. Others' deep thinking will lead them to different diets. Ideally, everyone can sit at the same table, listen to what each other has to say and be nourished by both food and conversation.
More information about text formats