Steven Poole writes:
It is an interesting question, meanwhile, why the word "baby" in menu descriptions does not disgust us. Surely the last things we want to eat are babies. But perhaps once we are lulled into an imaginative world where a "baby" lamb or the "baby" queen scallop can be "resting" (in the scallop's case, resting itself on another baby, this time a "baby gem", since vegetables too – baby carrots, baby greens – can share in the general babyhood of all nice things, and participate in tottering towers of babies all stacked up for our gastric enjoyment), we are cocooned in such a euphemistic dream that the incipient act of putting these "baby" organisms into our mouths doesn't register as the horrific dissonance it otherwise might.
Babies are young, tender, helpless and succulent. The last thing we want to eat are old people, even though consumption of their beating hearts may transfer their courage and survivor smarts to ouselves. Babies also start appearing on menus at the upper end of the scale. They can therefore be interpreted as a celebration of successful predation. The poor eat chips. The rich eat babies. The weak are meat. The strong are hungry.