As humans, it is natural to seek to fill a void and people do so in different ways. Some choose to follow any choice of an array of religions. Others take a more secular path and venture into the worlds of illegal substances and alcohol. There are others still who believe that they are unable to be whole unless they have their soul mate by their side every second of every day. In “Vegetable Love” Annette Grim, a vigorous vegetarian, refers to her void as her spot. It is described as “a sort of Cartesian pineal gland that existed within her right rib cage. ‘This is its place, my body’s soul lives here.’” Annette says about her spot that is specific to each person (456). When she and Ferguson enter into a relationship Ferguson begins the search for his spot. At first he seems to shrug it off, but when Annette leaves he becomes obsessed. “Vegetable Love” emphasizes obsessions with love and the human need of filling a void by pairing love and vegetarianism and providing religious allusions to emphasize the importance of voids in love and religion.
Although a specific religion is not laid out in the story, Annette’s approach to her vegetarian lifestyle is not so different from some religious practices. When Ferguson takes an interest in Annette he steps into a world he is none too familiar with and begins his quest as a new vegetarian with Annette, as if he is taking on a new religion. Annette is leading him. Ferguson proposes to her, but she says to him “I don’t think it can ever work out permanently until you have your spot too” and it sounds almost self-righteous, as if she is too good for him. Similarly in religion, some religious people look down on others because of different beliefs. Also in religion, people don’t always stay on the right path. Ferguson goes astray and eats a huge hunk of meat at a steakhouse after three months of strict vegetarian diet, and when he returns to Annette’s apartment the next day she has vanished. But, not without giving her two week notice at her home and work. Ferguson begins to doubt and question, just like in religion when people face hardship or some type of crisis of faith. Rather than become a sob story, Ferguson becomes obsessed with finding his spot, a workaholic, and overall, filling the void Annette left behind.
In attempt to fill his void, Ferguson engages in an extreme, almost deadly, vegetarian diet as a desperate attempt to find his spot. All this work Ferguson was putting in was described as “penance” (460), a religious term meaning he is trying to make amends for his wrong doings Religious words and words with religious connotations appear throughout “Vegetable Love”. For example, when Ferguson is in the later stages of vegetarianism he would “roll his eyes heavenward” as he thought of hid former ways of thinking about food (457). Annette also uses religious words to describe her body. In the beginning she says, “To me the body is a temple. Would you bring steak into a temple?” (456).