A Nation of Vegetable Idiots

Smart and useful Francis Lam article suggesting that vegans and meat-eaters alike should try eating some goddamn vegetables for a change, instead of relying on all manner of processed foods.

Somewhere between the greens and beans of the old-time South to hippie-dippy nut loaves and the microwaved on-the-go Gardenburgers, we seemed to have lost our way. As meat got cheaper and cheaper, it went from an occasional (and seasonal) luxury to the center of our diets … and the center of our food culture. We became, as Elissa Altman put it on her blog Poor Man’s Feast, a nation of “vegetable idiots … Vegetables are simply not a part of the American culinary lexicon: give a man a kohlrabi and he won’t know what to do with it. Give a man a steak, and he will.”


I don’t particularly have anything against [vegan convenience foods], not any more than any other processed food product, but their popularity illustrates Altman’s point. Even for many vegetarians, the challenge of eating is often about how to replace the meat on the plate, not focusing on the delicious, inspiring possibilities of vegetables themselves.

If you’re a vegetable idiot, the first step is to admit you’ve got a problem. The second step is to get yourself a wok and a George Foreman grill, and to review my advice here and here.

But that’s only the beginning. This piece by Lam can open the door to a far more subtle appreciation of vegetables. (Thanks, Julie.) Link.


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