A vegetarian at Pollan’s table

As far as I’ve noticed, the first sign of Michael Pollan’s dismissiveness toward vegetarianism in The Omnivore’s Dilemma comes at the dinner table with his friends Mark and Liz and their sons Matthew and Willie. He writes,

Matthew, who’s fifteen and currently a vegetarian (he confined himself to the corn), had many more questions about killing chickens than I thought it wise to answer at the dinner table. (271)

Pollan doesn’t simply tell us that Matthew is a vegetarian, he tells us that he’s currently a vegetarian, as though it’s just a fad that he’ll get over some day. In a review worth reading in its entirety, B.R. Myers has more to say on Matthew and the questions left unanswered:

But doesn’t Pollan say in his introduction that the pleasures of eating are “only deepened by knowing”? And if it is so natural to kill and eat animals, and so sentimental to think otherwise, why is the vegetarian the only one who can stomach the details? Pollan can’t be bothered telling us why Matthew became a vegetarian. We are clearly meant to take it for a mere teenage phase, nothing a restriction of his options won’t cure: “He confined himself to the corn.”



  1. Molly said

    The more I read of this, especially the linked review, the more I am angered and disgusted by him, and disgusted by our society’s placement of him on a pedestal as a Food Savior.

  2. […] Michael Pollan, philosophy, The Omnivore's Dilemma, vegetarianism A few days ago, I wrote about Michael Pollan’s first substantive mention of vegetarianism in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. His attitude toward vegetarianism was not a […]

  3. […] on the ethics of eating animals, there are signs that he won’t take his debate seriously. He tells us, for example, that his friends’ son is “fifteen and currently a vegetarian” […]

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