Diet,  Food

George Bernard Shaw and the dreaded salad—being a vegetarian, then and now

By Roberta Attanasio

The ingenious playwright George Bernard Shaw was awarded the 1925 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty.” He was a fervent vegetarian, and the same traits that characterized his work can be found in his staunch defense of vegetarianism. At a meeting of the University of London Vegetarian Society, held in 1923, he said: “Sages and saints and a few others recoil from eating meat.” He himself was a sage; and probably after a decent interval he would be made a saint. 

Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

During the same meeting, he brought up the strength and power of vegetarians. “The idea that meat eating was the secret of athletic prowess was dealt a severe blow by the vegetarian champions in the later part of the nineteenth century. Many people had the idea that vegetarians were effeminate and gentle, but they were the most ferocious people in the country.”

He also had a piece of advice: “Mr. Shaw advised his hearers never to tell their hostess that they were vegetarians. If they did, he said, she would consult with her cook, and on arrival at dinner the poor vegetarian would be confronted with tomatoes and bread crumbs – horrible stuff.”

Probably he did not know that, about 100 years later, the same situation would keep occurring. Contemporary vegetarians are often confronted with the equivalent of tomatoes and bread crumbs—the infamous and ubiquitous “salad.” The vegetarians’ cry could well be “please stop feeding me salads.” So here is something nice to read just in case you want to make sure that the vegetarians around you are happy eaters—no, it’s not recipes only, it’s a nice explanation of “What omnivores get wrong about vegetarian cooking,” set to make everyone happy.

The Global Fool 2013 – 2022 ©

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