Vegetarianism and its stricter cousin, veganism, are gaining adherents as never before, embraced not just by college students and artsy types but by middle America. Exhibit 1: Burger King now offers the Impossible Whopper, proving that if you add enough ketchup, mayo, pickles, and onions, a plant-based patty could pass as a meaty burger.
How have cartoonists responded? Some, like Matt Diffee, have focused on how unpopular the non-meat diet is with the typical omnivore.
Mike Twohy imagines a world where vegans impose their dietary will on others, who must shut up and toe the company line. Not a lot of happy faces at this board meeting.
Tofu—in all its bland glory—has been the target of many cartoons mocking the vegan diet. David Sipress relies on the old switcheroo approach to create this cartoon, which features a butcher unsympathetic to plant-eaters. He even defines “pork” to drive home his pointed point.
Eric Lewis takes a gentler approach toward vegans and the foodstuff most often associated with them. In this boldly rendered cartoon, leaping cubes of tofu replace sheep. Note the scalloped frame, suggesting a mental image.
Another angle cartoonists have taken is to consider why people choose to eschew meat rather than chew meat. Tom Toro turns the tables on the non-vegan in his cartoon, which presents the question of veganism without offering an answer:
Bob Mankoff provides a simple, three-letter answer to the question, why vegetarian?
Sometimes the explanation behind a vegetarian’s decision can surprise, as in this cartoon by Kate Curtis:
The vegan ethos can be taken too far, a point made in another cartoon by Michael Twohy. Incidentally, depicting a painting in a cartoon, especially one that’s the focus of the gag, is a trick only the best cartoonists can pull off. This complex and wonderful drawing gets every detail right: the elegant picture frame, the gestures and expressions of the three characters, the waiter’s ruffled shirt and trouser stripe, the napkin folded into the wine glass, the high ceiling. Note also that the eye level on which the perspective is based is the dead animals’ eyes.
Veganism might be the first step toward an ever more restricted diet, taking all the joy out of eating fun food. P.C. Vey takes those limitations to their logical extreme:
People can choose the vegan option, but what about animals? A baby bird poses that question in a cartoon by Bruce Eric Kaplan.
Of course, some animals have no choice in their diet, but they can be accommodated, as seen in an airline food cartoon by this blog’s co-author, Phil Witte.
Vegetarianism is often linked to other progressive ideals. We conclude with a very woke cartoon by Paul Noth, which celebrates not only vegetarianism but gender equality. The chickens have the final say.