There is a trend for certain food terms to become popular and
then reviled. "Food porn" came in and went out pretty fast;
"foodies" has lasted longer but there is now gradual consensus that
it should be eliminated from polite conversation as a derogatory
term. But "veggies"?
According to Deborah Madison (The Greens
Cookbook, Vegetable Literacy,
and other numerous vegetarian books) "veggies" should indeed join
the crowd. In her article on Zester, Stop Calling Them
Veggies: Vegetables Are Due Respect, she writes:
"And why would I bother to have and squander any
emotion at all about the word veggies? I've wondered myself about
why I don't like it and won't use it. I think it's this: The word
veggie is infantile. Like puppies. Or Cuties. It reduces vegetables
to something fluffy and insubstantial. Think about it: We don't say
"fruities," or "meaties" "or "wheaties" - unless it's the cereal.
We don't say "eggies" or "beefies." We don't have a Thanksgiving
birdy; we havethe bird. But we don't seem to be able to say
vegetable. Certainly it's no longer than saying "Grass-fed
beef" or "I'll have a latte." Veggie turns vegetables
into something kind of sweet but dumb, and in turn, one who eats a
lot of vegetables might be construed as something of a lightweight,
but one who can somehow excused. "It's just veggies, after all.
They'll snap out of it."
She goes on to highlight why "plants are
generally quite amazing, strong and clever beings that evolve with
Interestingly, by the way, in response to some
of the replies to the blog, she does address the British term "veg"
- "I am okay with "veg" because it makes me think of
Obviously Deborah spends a great deal of time
thinking about vegetables, so this is a subject much closer to her
than it is to me, but I have to say that, in general, if we can
just get people thinking about vegetables in a fond way - and maybe
"veggie" does that - I can't get bothered by it. And it doesn't, at
least to me, have the derogatory tone that "foodie" has. What do