Judging a Book by Its Cover, or, Why Militant Veggos Suck

Won't somebody think of the children?

Won’t somebody think of the children?

So the Prick just ran across, a week or so too late for Christmas, Buzzfeed’s list of the fifteen best cookbooks of 2012. Honestly, not a helluva lot there of interest, save for April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories, written by (as Buzzfeed puts it) “a very particular cook who did not compromise too much here in terms of simplifying her recipes for the home cook, so they do require a lot of ingredients — and often they require a lot of steps. But when you have at your fingertips the secret to making her UNBELIEVABLY ADDICTIVE gnudi, her famous chopped chicken liver on toast, or even her recipe for roasting a whole suckling pig, it is most certainly worth it.”

Sounds like just the thing, so over to Amazon to see about getting a copy: Whoa, just 3.5 stars from readers. What gives?

A whole swag of one-star reviews from humourless scolds horrified that Chef Bloomfield has not only written a book devoted to cooking pigs, but dared to feature a dead beast on the cover of the thing is what.

Here’s a sample of the outrage:

This is the most disgusting cover and should be taken out from any book display…

The cover of this book is absolutely disgusting, revolting and insensitive…

I don’t think I can hold it in my hand without cringing, and I cannot imagine the “book” being displayed where young children are present.

You get the idea. Dozens of would-be Helen Lovejoys quite literally judging a book by its cover and attempting to damage an author’s and a publisher’s profits in the process through minor acts of petty vandalism. It is not just the idea of cooking or eating meat that offends, it is any image that suggests meat might be eaten, or that it might come from a dead animal that has an image of a pig being treated like the latest offering from Larry Flynt. And hang on, weren’t we all supposed to be teaching kids that food actually doesn’t “come” from the supermarket?

This is a small but telling example of why, collectively, militant vegetarians, vegans, and other food faddists suck. Not only do they not want to partake in some of life’s great joys – fine – but they also have a hell of a big problem if other people do.

In fact these one-star reviews and the impulses behind them come less from a genuine concern about animal welfare than from petty minds that do not get that in a free society (if they actually think a free society is a good thing), everyone has to be able to be offended a little bit, otherwise the whole thing falls to pieces. There’s a lot of this sort of thing going around these days, in Australia particularly. We’ve already got plain-packaged cigarettes, it’s not long before someone tries to do the same thing to booze, and while we’re on it, why not make cookbook marketers put their wares in between plain brown covers too? Especially when they’re conning (because that’s what, according to the left-listing Puritan mindset that sees capitalism as a conspiracy to reinforce false consciousness, marketers always do) the public into buying books that will teach them to make unhealthy pork-based dishes that some academic will determine costs the public health system $56 billion a year. While we’re at it, why not subsidies and other “nudge”-type measures to get people to buy more vegetarian cookbooks, or subscribe to the Mung Bean of the Month Club?

And for every veggo who sniffs, “Well, no animal died to make my salad”, the Prick says, how much of your average lettuce or carrot farmer’s day do you reckon is spent killing, trapping, poisoning, or otherwise making life seriously unpleasant for cute little bunnies and birdies who might get to the produce before the produce gets to market?

Answer: a lot.

Consider my order placed.

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19 Responses to Judging a Book by Its Cover, or, Why Militant Veggos Suck

  1. Dr Duck says:

    I’ll have to get that book … the cover is a thoroughly enticing image. You can get beautiful sucking pigs of about that size (about 8-10 kg) at the Portuguese butchers in Petersham. For a real treat, get a real small one of about 5 kg, and get an Italian or Chinese to cook it for you.

    I have no time for faddists, greens and particularly vegetarians. Idiots all, in my opinion. However they have the right to eat horrible mixed vegetables in tomato sauce with dried herbs, poorly cooked lentils and other horrors. While there is nothing wrong with those things cooked properly, I absolutely hate their typical leftist zeal to encourage us to live on such a miserable and unsatisfying diet.

    • chiefprick says:

      Dr Duck, reading the latest volume of the Last Lion trilogy on Churchill, the Prick notes this letter from the great man to his Minister of Food during the war: “Almost all the food faddists I have known, nut eaters and the like, have died young after a long period of senile decay … the way to lose the war is to try to force the British public into a diet of milk, oatmeal, potatoes, etc., washed down, on gala occasions, with a little lime juice.”

  2. Lance Morrow says:

    Anyone who tends crops and mows fields, as we do here on the farm in upstate New York, knows that the carnage is immense each time in terms of bunnies, voles, toads, myriad smaller forms of life. You cannot make a salad without causing chaos and death in the millions. I reckon it makes for more death-in-the-field to feed a vegetarian than it does a carnivore. I have therefore switched to a diet of acorns and wild berries. Seaweed on Saturday nights.

  3. vegeTARAian says:

    Woah, hold the phone. I think it’s a bit much to assume EVERY vegetarian / vegan is an ‘idiot’ as Dr Duck suggests. I’d be interested to know how many of those Amazon comments came from meat eaters who aren’t comfortable seeing their food in its original form. We are taught from a young age to disassociate with the animals we consume and I think the image would be confronting for some meat eaters. Some prefer to keep their head in the sand about what’s on their plate. While it’s not my cup of tea, I think it’s a brave cover and if it gets people talking and thinking, the PR team have had a win.

    • Dr Duck says:

      Maybe the term “idiot” was a bit strong, and I apologise. My feelings are framed by my experiences with various hippies and other dopes back in the 70’s. While many vegetarians are indeed stupid, some of the more intelligent ones are simply misguided. The current trend to cast food preferences in moral/ethical terms is tiresome, and certainly a luxury more common and indeed possible among the affluent. Eat whatever you want, but don’t ask me to admire or give any regard to your attempt to cast yourself as more virtuous or admirable because of it. In the end it is simply a preference. If you are ever faced with true hunger, even short of starvation, the survival instinct will kick in, and that nice piece of meat, whatever its provenance, will be more than palatable.

    • TimT says:

      I agree. I’m not sure how many of those comments would really come from vegetarians and vegans. A good cover though: if you’re going to eat meat you ought to be honest about it. (Not a vegetarian myself).

  4. Tom M. says:

    Very few of the reviews are marked “Amazon Verified Purchase”, they are just from opinionated numbnuts deliberately trying, as you say, to sabotage this author and her book. I wish Amazon would weight reviews from angry fly-in opinionistas differently, make each one count for maybe 1/10th the star review from a verified purchaser. This sort of mobbing of reviews from people who have never bought the product is starting to happen far too often.

  5. Tom M. says:

    P.S. Those with an Amazon account who want to bring some of the more helpful ratings to the top might want to “up-tick” the REAL reviews like this one.

  6. old bloke says:

    “We’ve already got plain-packaged cigarettes”

    Unfortunately, no we don’t. We have grotesquely packaged cigarettes which feature photos of dead people and rotten feet and teeth. Plain brown wrapper would be better.

    • TimT says:

      I’ve noticed a number of non-plain packaged cigarettes lying around Melbourne, oddly enough. All with what look like British brand names. (Manchester, Manchester Light, and, I think the other one is Bonds). Not even the photos of rotten teeth, etc. They look so beautiful to my eyes that I’ve started collecting them. I suppose there’s a hole in the tobacco regulations that allows some foreign ciggy company to sell these items at a profit; maybe it’s been closed now.

  7. Bruce the Barbarian says:

    That’s not a dead pig. It’s sleeping. Here pig, pig, pig …
    And I wonder why there is not a dead-brained vegan draping the shoulders of Madam Chef?

  8. coconutdog says:

    Pork is a nice sweet meat.

  9. You can play this game a number of ways. Not that I want to tar all vegetarians with the same brush, but they probably all over look the fact that to get the veggies onto the plate thousands of people using countless pieces of technology were required, and they were probably mostly meat-eaters.

  10. Pat Heuvel says:

    Pray tell, what do you think the nutritional content of a dead-brained vegan would be? and more to the point, how sweet the cooking odours from said creature?
    These points alone should answer your question!
    Happy New Year!

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