THE VEGETABLE PASSION
by JANET BARKAS
224 pages. Scribner's. $8.95.
In Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens introduces "an elderly pimply-faced, vegetable-diet sort of man . . . who seemed to be an essential part of the desk at which he was writing, and to have as much thought or sentiment." That caricature of the desiccated plant-eater still pervades the English-speaking world. The very language is meaty with bias. Imagine a Beaneater martini, a fatted kale, a yam actor, a string of Turnip 'n' Brew restaurants. . .
On this mountain of cultural prejudice, Janet Barkas has planted The Vegetable Passion, a monomaniacal history of...