In a classic episode of The Simpsons titled “Lisa the Vegetarian,” Lisa Simpson has an argument with her father, Homer, over why he insists on serving meat at a party. Homer, rarely known for his intelligent retorts, responds in the following fashion, and coins a catchphrase in the process:
Lisa: Dad! Can’t you have some other type of party, one where you don’t serve meat?
Homer: “All normal people love meat. If I went to a barbeque and there was no meat, I would say ‘Yo Goober! Where’s the meat!?’. I’m trying to impress people here Lisa. You don’t win friends with salad.”
While many vegetarians would disagree (that, in fact, you can win friend with salad,) Homer’s statement reflects the views that many Americans hold about meat consumption. Beef, pork, and poultry are readily available in our supermarkets and are cheap and (relatively) safe to eat as a result of modern techniques that make processing far safer than it was in the days of Upton Sinclair. Questionable long-term health consequences aside, another reason for our rabid consumption of meat may be because we’ve simply lost touch with our mostly vegetarian past. Carnivores will often tell passionate vegetarians that “humans evolved to eat meat.” However, a recent post in Scientific American via NPR questions the validity of that statement.
Author Jonathan Safran Foer was asked whether someday American society will view meat the same way we view cigarettes.