Vegan Deli

Vegan Deli  by Jo Stepaniak

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Raising Vegetarian Children
by Jo Stepaniak, M.S.Ed., & Vesanto Melina M.S., R.D.

Raising Vegetarian Children

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Wherefore Moo?

You know what I'm talking about, if you've been a vegan for any length of time, or if you have acquaintances with anti-veg views. It's a minor rite of passage for a vegan. I'm talking about that inexplicable phenomenon known as getting MOOOed.

No, I don't mean by cows. Conversing with cows would no doubt be an enlightening experience, but I am referring to getting MOOOed by people -- by omnivorous people, to be specific, when they are laughing at vegans. I have postulated some possible reasons for this phenomenon, which, I must confess, I fail to understand.

In being moooed, am I being likened to a cow? I will consider this. I am vegan. So, ideally, is a cow. I am a mammal. Ditto for a cow. I have blue eyes; a cow has brown eyes. I'm a soprano. I think most cows are contralto or mezzo. I'm a fairly hyperactive, energetic person. Cows are peaceful and mellow. I weigh about 130 pounds, I think. A cow weighs rather more than that. I walk on two legs and have one stomach. Cows walk on four legs and have four stomachs. I fail quite sadly in these latter aspects. Moreover, while I enjoy salads as much as the next vegan, I have never really had an aptitude for grazing or cud-chewing. As a matter of fact, I have TMJ and can't even chew gum, so cuds are basically off-limits if I want to keep my jaw. So I can't imagine why I would be likened to a cow.

Is this phenomenon living proof of the maxim "You are what you eat," and that by eating meat and dairy these omnivores are turning into cows and feeling the urge to moo? This can't be it. They eat dead meat, and dead meat doesn't moo. Besides, if they were really turning into cows, they would start eating grass and chewing cuds, as mentioned above.

Maybe because they wear cows' skins they think they are dressed like cows and therefore moo to complete the effect? This can't be it either. They have no more similarities to a cow than I have, and as far as I know, cows are content to wear their own skin. The cow impression, if this is what they are trying to achieve, is lost on me.

So omnivores are mooing at vegans not because the vegans are like cows and not because the omnivores are like cows. Is the omnivore, by mooing, trying to make us think about cows? A noble gesture, inspiring us to pursue our veganism even as they choose not to begin down that path. Vegans know what happens to cows. Omnivores don't, or don't care. If you ask me, I should be the one doing the MOOOing!

Ah, imagine this day: I am dressed up like a cow, hanging out in the humongous dairy section of my supermarket, MOOOing and gesturing at my udder. (This is what you're sucking on, people!) Of course, I'd get chased out of that store, but there are lots of grocery stores and cheese stores here in Aix.

Then I could move on to the meat shops -- MOOOing at the customers and pointing to the blood on the aprons and the blades, the heads on the birds (they don't decapitate here), pointing to the place on my own cowbody that corresponds to the cut of meat people want to eat. And then there's always leather. I could go to shops and MOOOO at people trying on their leather jackets ("How do I look?" Like an otherwise intelligent and nice person wearing a dead animal's skin.... "Is it me?" No, it's a dead cow.)

Would it accomplish anything? Probably not, apart from allowing me to vent my frustration with the un-vegan, materialistic world that surrounds me. And, sadly, it would probably be as inexplicable a gesture to most omnivores as their MOOOing is to me.

Aix-en-Provence, France

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