Growing up in a household of food-loving Italian-Americans, University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown professor Marissa Landrigan was always a black sheep—she barely knew how to boil water for pasta. But at college, she thought she’d found her purpose. Buoyed by animal rights activism and a feminist urge to avoid the kitchen, she transformed into a hard-core vegan activist, complete with shaved head.
But Landrigan still hadn’t found her place in the world. Striving to develop her career and maintain a relationship, she criss-crossed the U.S. Along the way, she discovered that eating ethically was far from simple—and cutting out meat was not the answer. As she got closer to the source of her food, eventually even visiting a slaughterhouse and hunting elk, Landrigan realized that the most ethical way of eating was to know her food—whether meat or vegetable—and prepare it herself, on her own terms, to eat with family and friends.
Part memoir and part investigative journalism, The Vegetarian’s Guide to Eating Meat is as much a search for identity as it is a fascinating treatise on food.
Marissa Landrigan’s essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the Atlantic, Salon, Guernica, and Orion. She holds an MFA from Iowa State University.