Per Deborah Madison, the word “veggies” should be banned


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 time.”

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 vegetation.”

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 you think?

Post a comment


  • missboots  on  January 21, 2014

    I despise the term "veg" – it makes me think of compost. "Veggies" is a fun abbreviation.

  • Cookingdiamond  on  January 21, 2014

    I don,t like the fashion for shortening words, let alone making up words. Veg is a short form of vegetables but veggies is a made up word and in English would imply a vegetarian, not the food they eat. Horrible, either way like text speak which makes my skin crawl. I,ve just read an American article about a woman who did not use shampoo to wash her hair, she called it 'poo. Lovely!!I, I,m sure you know what that word is used for in the uk.

  • boardingace  on  January 22, 2014

    I agree with you, Lindsay. "Veggies" is not a derogatory term. It's probably actually a great idea to call them that, since most "kiddies" are more sensitive to bitter tastes than adults, and have more trouble eating their "veggies." I understand that certain words – just like certain tastes, sounds, and sights – are offputting to people. However, it's just personal taste, and for the author to call it derogatory or demeaning to vegetables is ridiculous.

  • apattin  on  January 22, 2014

    Veggies is an endearing term, IMO. do vegetables need more respect? Yes, they do, but the term is not derogatory.

  • ElaineReeves  on  January 22, 2014

    I have no objection to a diminutive name for vegetables, but it should be vegies, not veggies (shouldn't that be pronounced the same as doggies?) Vegies in the spelling in Australia, however (American) spellcheckers are changing this. In New Zealand they call them veges.
    The only good thing is everyone knows what you mean, whichever you use, unlike spring onion/shallot/green onion.

  • BethNH  on  January 25, 2014

    I have made it a resolution to only be bothered by real problems. Calling vegetables veggies is not a problem. To waste time thinking, or writing, about such a trivial thing is preposterous.

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!