Go Ahead, Ask Me

Author Rachel Whitaker says that when people find out that she’s a vegetarian, they usually have lots of questions. Here’s a typical conversation.

Friend: Would you like to try some dried octopus tentacles? They’re a Japanese delicacy.

Rachel: No thanks, I’m a vegetarian. [To herself: What a convenient excuse!]

F: Really? Do you eat fish and chicken?

R: No. I don’t eat animals. Period. No cows, no chickens, no fish, no insects.

F: But where do you get protein?

R: Beans, nuts, soy products—even whole grains have lots of protein.

F: Wow. How long have you been a vegetarian?

R: My whole life.

F: So you’ve never eaten a hamburger?

R: That’s right.

F: But . . . what if you were stranded on a deserted island with nothing but rats and lizards? Would you eat meat?

R: [Pictures herself clubbing a flea-ridden rat and gnawing on its raw flesh.] Well . . . since the thought of eating meat grosses me out, if I did eat it, I’d probably throw up afterward, and then I’d be in even worse shape than before. So I’m going to say . . . no.

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