He was a vegetarian—for a while. As a printer’s apprentice, the young Franklin read a book on vegetarianism’s benefits, and embraced the diet for health reasons—and to save money. Co-workers spent mealtimes in restaurants. Franklin read while eating biscuits and raisins, and felt better for it. “I made the greater progress from that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension which usually attend temperance in eating and drinking,” he wrote. He drifted back into the carnivore ranks on a long sail. When the vessel’s crew caught and cooked a meal of cod, Franklin at first declined an invitation, but the aroma of fried fish proved too compelling. “I balanced some time between principle and inclination until I recollected that when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs,” he wrote. “‘Thus,’ thought I, ‘if you eat one another, I don’t see why we may not eat you.’ So I dined upon cod very heartily and have since continued to feast as other people, returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet.” (Ouvenet/DEA/G. Dagli Orti/Granger, NYC)