The history of vegetarianism

“In Newton’s time and beyond, you couldn’t discuss meat eating or its rejection without biting into some tough theology, and Tristram Stuart’s sprawling ‘The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times’ (buy it on Amazon) shows just how hard it was to decipher God’s dietary will and how many other considerations–both sacred and secular–were wrapped up in decisions about whether or not it was right to eat animals. The book is a magnificently detailed and wide-ranging collection of scholarship on what has been said to justify either refraining from meat or consuming it. Of course, a history of justifications is not the same thing as a history of what people actually ate, or didn’t. For many people, through most of history, not eating meat was a given: it was just too scarce or expensive. But, among the few who had the resources, meat’s richness, fatty satisfaction, and nourishment were much appreciated…”