Riffing on Books and Life – Arts & Sciences Literary Blog by interactive new media author & artist Terry Bailey


Riffing on Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, Part 2: Does a Hotdog Have Meat in It?

previously: The next day Tess announced that she was a vegetarian.

Which brings me to our trip to the San Francisco Exploratorium and the day I almost lied to her. Tess and I had wandered through half of the science exhibits and demonstrations. She was fascinated, which made me happy as I had dreamed of turning my beloved niece on to science – one of my passions. It was about two in the afternoon, and we had not eaten lunch. We wandered into the small food bar there, and I discovered that the only foods available were little iceberg lettuce salads and hotdogs.

Knowing that a scoop of lettuce covered with a packet of dressing would not be enough to fill either of us, I ventured to ask Tess, “Would you like a hotdog for lunch?”

“Does a hotdog have meat in it?”


“Well . . . .”


Riffing on Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, Part 1: Little Baby Lamb

Jonathan Safran Foer at Vromans in Pasadena

Jonathan Safran Foer at Vromans in Pasadena

At his Vroman’s Bookstore reading, Jonathan Safran Foer posited that children do not come by the eating of meat naturally. That naturally they would have an aversion to it. That we adults must lead children to meat, and ingrain the habit in them – by serving as role model meat eaters, and by serving up animal body parts as we acculturate the little darlings in the art of eating. In the case of my niece Tess at least, Foer was right on target. Her childhood instinct was to avoid eating anything she might encounter at the zoo.

Foer’s theory resonated with me because I remembered Tess’ childhood decision to follow the vegetarian path. While Foer debated whether or not he should raise his boy child as a vegetarian (the question behind his decision to research and write Eating Animals), my sister, brother-in-law and I were chided and derided by this precocious, inde girl child if we even looked in the direction of a pork tenderloin.