Friday, July 20, 2012

Let Them Eat Kale

It was the revolutionaries who were telling people what to eat, not Marie-Antoinette.
Vegetarianism during the French Revolution is most often traced to the political writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. He was a philosopher who greatly influenced the revolutionaries, says Tristram Stuart, author of the book The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism: From 1600 to Modern Times.
Rousseau writes in Emile, his treatise on education:
"The indifference of children towards meat is one proof that the taste for meat is unnatural; their preference is for vegetable foods, such as milk, pastry, fruit, etc. Beware of changing this natural taste and making children flesh-eaters, if not for their health's sake, for the sake of their character."
Stuart takes it further. "When revolutionaries fought in the French Revolution, some of them got bound up in this idea that animals, too, were in need of liberation from oppression and from slavery," Stuart says, "and therefore, they built animal rights into their revolutionary ideology." (Read entire article.)


Mrs. Rudd said...

Uh-huh. Did Rousseau have children? On the nights when Mrs. R was at her bridge club, did he ever ask them, "Okay kids, what do you want for dinner? Hot dogs with lots of ketchup or yummy broccoli au gratin?"

And when he got his answer, I'm sure he started a culinary tradition by saying, "Okay, but you still have to have your vegetables. Pommes frites on the side, and no argument."

elena maria vidal said...

Rousseau had several children with his mistress but he gave them all to an orphanage when they were small. Strange man.

julygirl said...

There are amino acids and various nutrients that our systems require which can only be derived from meat, but we should still only eat small portions and not necessarily daily. One should not pursue vegetarianism without the adequate knowledge to do so healthily. Unfortunately most Americans do not eat enough fresh vegetables and that is why there are so many health problems by the time we reach our 50s.