Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Hitler Vegetarian Cookbook Question

This morning, a friend who knows that I have an unpublished novel about Adolph Hitler's chef sitting on my hard drive sent me this question from the usenet (?) group

[Could we write the Hitler Vegetarian Cookbook?]

Surely a lot of the menus for events Hitler attended must survive?
It should be possible to work out how the chefs of the time coped
with his requirements. I've never seen an elite/gourmet veggie
cookbook from that period, they all seem to be solidly bourgeois.
He presumably didn't need to have nut roast alternating with bean
and cheese casserole every night.

I assume that the reason this question is coming up now has something to do with the approach of the Son of the Prince of Darkness' birthday on April 20. And certainly whoever wrote it does not know -or perhaps fails to acknowledge- that Hitler was only an occasional vegetarian who seemed to be philosophically opposed to eating meat when it suited his propaganda agenda. It also seems likely that Hitler was convinced that a vegetarian diet would correct the gastrointestinal problems that had plagued him throughout his adult life. (You may or may not be amused to know that it has been reported that one of his doctors treated him with e. coli bacteria cultured from Hitler's own stool. This homeopathic remedy is referred to as Mutaflor and can be purchased today. But it is made, I assume, from e. coli from the guts of someone other than Hitler.)

In the end I suspect that the question is disingenuous and the person who wrote it is not truly serious about wanting to write a "A Thousand Years (Oops! Make that twelve.) of Great Aryan Veggie Recipes." But the subordinate question about the menus is pretty intriguing. I'm sure such things exist. If any reader of this blog comes across any German or Austrian vegetarian books, menus or recipes from the period of Hitler's rise (1933) and fall (1945) please let us know.


Tags said...

Methinks his doctors should've washed their hands of this whole stool stowage theory.

Jennie/Tikka said...

On a serious note....I like how this highlights the holier-than-thou attitude espoused by so many outspoken vegan/vegetarians. It is a harsh judgment against people at the root of this lifestyle for so many (not all). Likewise, Hitler took the path of "justified" hatred towards people he saw as guilty.

If you're out there wielding the heavy power machinery of society (the media, the courts, public opinion) to crush the folks who aren't vegan/vegetarians, you're acting more like a Hitler than a Ghandi, a Buddha, or a Christ.

Scotty said...

April is also the anniversary of his death on April 30th. How certain am I of this? 9 years ago this April 30th I stumbled home having just welcomed my first child into the world. I got on one of those "this day in history" sites only to have it tell me that Herr Schickelgruber offed himself on that date.

Oy Vey!

Jennie/Tikka said...

Oy, Scotty!

My birthday is January 26 - the day the Americans liberated Auschwitz.

Sounds like a new game: Six degrees of separation...from the nazis.

Sean said...

Thank you for Bob for posting a historically accurate account of Hitler's "vegetarianism." It is hard to justify a claim to vegetarianism when your cook in his memoirs recalls your favorite dish as squab.

Jennie/tikka... I take offense to your comments which are both baseless and incendiary. If by "holier-than-thou" you mean the belief that exploiting animals is objectively, ethically wrong then yes most vegans hold that belief. But to compare that to the extreme prejudices that Hitler harbored against Jews, slavs, the infirm, and other marginal groups is a gross mischaracterization. Vegans make up less than one half of the vegetarians in this country which by the latest polls I've seen number about 3 million in the United States. Vegan/vegetarian activists are hardly imposing anything on you or anyone else, and our efforts are mostly through as you note, the media, courts, and public opinion, all respectable outlets in a democratic society.

Ulla said...

I think that vegetarianism is sometimes coupled with a belief that humans are overpopulated. Vegans tend to come off misanthropic. This sounds harsh I know, but I grew up on a farm, and we ate our animals and treated them dignity---I have yet to meet a vegetarian who thinks we are NOT overpopulated. I think a lot of Hitler's political views make sense when viewed from a vegan perspective. I think being a humanist and an animal lover is important!

Sean said...

Wow, I'm surprised just how much vitriol surrounds Hitler and his legacy even after nearly 63 years since his death.

"I think that vegetarianism is sometimes coupled with a belief that humans are overpopulated. Vegans tend to come off misanthropic."
Both of these are completely unjustified stereotypes, the first of which I have scarcely heard before. The belief that humans beings are overpopulated does not imply genocidal or eugenics programs like you later suggest. Many in the environmental movement even now think there are too many (western) people taking up too many of the earth's resources to be sustainable in the long term at current consumption rates. Out of this arises the calls for expanded conservation programs, more efficient technologies, and the widespread concern of the rising affluence (and thus consumption) of India/China.

"I think a lot of Hitler's political views make sense when viewed from a vegan perspective."

Would you care to defend that statement? What were Hitler's political views exactly? Have you read any portion of Mein Kamf? Hitler had an obsession with racial purity and expanding the living space of the reich for his beloved aryan population to occupy. His views are so antithetical to vegan philosophy in general and as practiced by any number of vegans I have met I don't know where to even begin to draw comparisons. Likewise,

"I think being a humanist and an animal lover is important!"

is a ridiculous statement from the vegan perspective because humans are animals too and should be accorded at least as much respect as that of any other animal.

Ulla said...

Some of my family was lost in the holocaust, and 63 years ago means that they were my grandparent's first cousins. I am sorry if I offended you. My father is a grassfed beef and sheep farmer. I have met a lot of vegans who think that meat is murder, and that humans are the worst thing that has ever happened to the planet. Meat to me, is love and life. We have over a hundred cows, and they graze all year round, they are happy, healthy, and if we did not slaughter them they would not exist. I have never met a vegan who did not believe the earth was over populated with humans. I might be wrong, but it is just part of the vegan philosophy. Maybe it is an urban thing too. I can see that making a correlation between the two would be offensive(and I am sorry), but I am nonetheless suspicious of this current in vegan thought.

Elaine Vigneault said...

Some of the commmenters should really get to know a few vegetarians and vegans.

You're all full of unfounded prejudice and ridiculous theories about us.