2008: Year of the Vegangelicals & the Retrovores?

Locavore” was 2007’s Word of the Year, according to the Oxford University Press. The “eat local” movement got a big boost from writers like Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Pollan, and a spate of news stories about “food miles” got folks thinking more about curbing their carbon footprint than cutting back on carbohydrates.

Now, we’re only one week into the new year, but we’ve already got two new words to add to the Ethicurean lexicon: vegangelical, and retrovore.

A vegangelical is, as you may have guessed, a zealous vegan determined to convert meat eaters and dairy drinkers by any means necessary. Take Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman, the authors of the best-selling Skinny Bitch and its follow-up, Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, for example; by slipping their vegan agenda into an irreverent, edgy “diet” book, they managed to con thousands of unsuspecting calorie-challenged carnivores into buying a book which is, as the New York Times described it, a “peculiar combination of girl power, tough love and gross-out tales from the slaughterhouse.”

But isn’t it kind of unethical to trick people into becoming ethical eaters? And how empowering is it, really, to call yourself a bitch? I prefer the upfront approach of Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, who were on NPR’s Weekend Edition yesterday to promote their Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. Moskowitz and Romero, hosts of the Post Punk Kitchen tv show & website, may be hardcore vegans, but they’re not into the “shock and ugh” style favored by the self-proclaimed bitches; they’re all about “happiness and fluffy white bunnies and running through the daisy fields barefoot, throwing tofu at passers-by and sprinkling all the earth's creatures with magical nutritional yeast.” Which of these two dairy-defying duos would you rather have over for seitan stroganoff? I’ll take the punks over the bitches any day.

On to new word #2: retrovore. A Texan farmer by the name of Loncito coined this one, according to my fellow Kossack Jill Richardson (aka OrangeClouds115) who was chatting with Loncito and his son at an Austin farmers’ market. As Jill wrote in a dairy on Daily Kos yesterday, the son told his father "Dad, if you didn't raise animals the way you do, I'd probably be a vegan."

Loncito agreed that he probably would be, too. And that, Jill wrote, is when “they came up with the term "retrovore"—“one who eats food that was raised the way it should have been raised... like they used to do it before they learned how to ruin it.”

This word dovetails nicely with Michael Pollan’s edict "Don't eat anything your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food." According to NPR’s Liane Hanson, “2008 will be the year of ethical eating; vegetarian and locally produced food will grace more tables; wines will be more than organic, they’ll be biodynamic; there will be servings of micro-greens you grow yourself…” In other words, more of us will be breaking free from the conventional food chain and getting back to the garden. I guess it’s too early to nominate “retrovore” for 2008’s Word of the Year, but I thought I’d give it a running start. Better not look to the vegangelicals to help me spread the grass-fed gospel, though.

Thanks for sharing the retrovore anecdote :)

I'm really liking that word. One thought though... don't eat anything my grandmother wouldn't recognize as food? Man oh man, Pollan hasn't met MY grandmother. We go around and around about food. I constantly tell her that if she can't name the plant it came from, I'm not going to eat it. Somehow, that gives her the idea that I want to eat things like "mocha mix," whatever that is. My comedian uncle (yes, really, professional comedian) chimed in, "Come on, haven't you heard of the mocha mix plant? It grows in the rainforest." My grandmother's favorite comeback? "I'm 77 and I've been eating meat my whole life. I'm not dead from it." I've started spending holidays with the other side of the family... the side that feeds me.

Whose afraid of the big bad skinny little bitch?

So when Bill Maher uses edgy humor to make his case against religion by calling it a mental disorder, is he trying to trick people into becoming free thinkers? When Lenny Bruce used humor to show how hypocritical racism is or how dangerous censorship is, was he conning thousands of unsuspecting audience members into becoming open minded liberals? It sounds like you're a bit nervous of people learning about slaughterhouses through edgy women because in this case you might be complicit with the horrors of what slaughterhouses specialize in.
Deciding to be vegan is about eating ethically whether you think it's a fad diet, an evil plot to destroy animal abuse or whether you like it or not. The numbers of animals confined, treated like unfeeling machines and then brutally killed in the United States alone (12 Billion) far exceed in quantity any other form of violence or exploitation in the world. Ninety-nine out of every 100 animals killed in the United States each year are slaughtered for human consumption.
So when these two women want to expose the fact that all this death is completely unnecessary and one can live healthy and look great without participating in such a blood filled and cruel diet your response is to accuse them of unethical conduct? Why, because they use an edgy controversial word to make their point? It's Ok if Chris Rock uses the N word in his humor to grab attention and some power back? Why... because these two women use a medium that is utilized by men all the time? Humor, satire and wit to make their case? Maybe the B word here is a form of exposing a chunk of the sexual politics of the meat business.Animal rights people have been labled terrorists by politicians, the media and the flesh eating human society as well and because of the new AETA laws passed vegans can't even protest in front of a McDonalds or at a rodeo for fear of being arrested and hauled of to prison under new anti-animal rights laws. Now you want to take away a women's right to be vegan and humorous?
The truth is that happy, feel good, eat healthy arguments from nice hippy girls running through sun filled meadows with white bunny rabbits actually distracts the folks from the reality about the atrocious, agonizing and miserable lives that the animals raised for food are subjected to. All so that you can continue to eat their flesh freely and unhindered to me is actually dishonest and unethical. Maybe you don't like the idea that so many women are giving up eating animals because it puts pressure on you to do the same?
Veganism is not merely a matter of diet or a way to look hotter and feel better; it's a moral and political commitment to ending the abuse and unnecessary suffering of the innocent animals that carnivores call snacks or dinner. And I can think of a few new words myself that can be added to the ethicurean lexicon that describes people who think it's OK to abuse animals for the pleasure it brings those who eat them for pleasure.
Dahmervores (as in Jeffery) or how about Vickivores (as in Mikey). What about MEivores? As in Meat Eating or Me Me Me.

Too funny!

I've been calling myself a "carnibore" for a while -- ask me if I eat meat, and you'll have to listen to a long monologue about factory farming!