March 30, 2005

Food, Religion and Contradictions

So the topic of pig bones from the previous post, which came from a mailing list I belong to has sparked a discussion thread about animals and food. (The list is teeming with achingly smart people, who I count on for education, entertainment, and occasional psychotheraputic conversation...though recently a discussion of the finer points of the use of subjunctives made me roll my eyes until my head hurt!)

Uh, anyway...One of the list members is vegan, and said something about the dichotomy of celebrating Easter (Jesus's return to life) with the "slaughtering [of] innocent animals". So, being a smarty-pants/smartass, I replied with the obligatory smarty-pants comment: "...animals are made of meat!" and for a half-hearted support, I looked into this contradiction myself and posted a couple of links:
>But anyway, God says it's ok:
> So does Jesus:
> And so does Uncle Cecil

After a bit of discussion this person wrote:
> LOL. I wasn't looking for Biblical justification (since I am agnostic)
(some stuff snipped out here)
> it is strange that someone would celebrate his [Jesus's]
> "resurrection" from death by taking the life of another living thing.

Despite my Italian last name and my reluctant-catholic upbringing, I don't believe in anything/anyone, and I actually take issue with a LOT of the bible's contradictions. In fact, the only thing I posted and that I agree with is that animals are made of meat. I see his point, though; it's just another of many illogical contradictions.

The fact that in US culture certain food-animals are associated with certain holidays seems like a marketing thing. Especially since other cultures have other foods. That, and Thanksgiving Tempeh doesn't seem like it would catch on.

I have a whole bunch of contradictory food issues: Tempeh grosses me out, but Brie/Camembert is fine, and Cabrales is fantastic. I eat all kinds of mushrooms, including huitlacoche and truffles: all types of fungus, which if I think about it too much, grosses me out. In the animal world, I will eat Calamari with marinara, but I avoid other non-fish seafood (things without scales & fins) because it's ambiguously "icky". (um...but monkfish and skate are delicious) I don't eat bugs. I don't eat reptiles. I don't eat rodents...but I will eat rabbit, which is way more like a cat than a rat, but I won't eat cat, or dog. I'd be willing to try horse, tho. Venison, buffalo, lamb, ostrich, all fair game. No pun intended.

I'm curious to know what readers of this blog won't eat... and what you will eat, even though it contradicts what you won't eat.

Last thing I ate or drank: I am addicted to spearmint tic-tacs.

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  1. Chef JoAnna,

    There is not any particular direct Biblical contradiction in eating or not eating ham on Easter, based since the Bible does not describe any sort of practices for celebrating Easter.

    So if you want to object to contradictions here they're founded in a tradition that comes from the availability of pigs in Northern Europe as a food source in centuries past. It is an incidental "add-on" tradition to Easter celebrations.

    Anyway, if you want to question your religious upbringing be my guest... but you should probably at least be fair about where the contradictions exist. Sometimes people see contradictions that say more about them than about the text(s) they refer to, especially if an assertion or bias is promoted without the backing of good scholarship.

  2. I won't eat anything that is a bug, or looks like one. e.g. Crab, Lobser.

  3. I was speaking of contradictions in general... and how it seems to be a contradiction that you celebrate jesus's return to life by killing: killing an animal for a feast. And why not? Feasts are part-and-parcel of celebrations. I base my career on that.

    Pigs, turkey, goose... they're all damn tasty, and if I get a holiday-excuse to eat them, then why not? I even declare Filet Mignon the official meat-product of Valentine's day, since that's what I'm always asked to cook.

    I can't get into advanced discussions about the bible because I don't know it. Ditto the Koran, Quran, etc.
    Plenty of other people have done the research and made their own comparisons. My google search turned up many links, this among them:

    And it's interesting that the whole "pork is unclean" thing ( comparative/christ/bible_pork.htm) gets put aside when pork is a readily available food source in Northern Europe... Because, wait it's not! Another section of the bible contradicts that! (that link talks about exact passages)

    So, can we talk about food again? :-) What do you eat that contradicts what you say you don't eat?

  4. I eat horse (you can find it in Canada, where I am now.) And I used to own a horse and we rode in competitions. I think some would find this rather odd. I'm not sure what I think except that horse is damn tasty. Is that wrong?

    I eat pretty much anything, with some weird contradictions. I love pate and foie gras, but I'm squeamish about eating cooked organs, even though I know pate comes from liver.

    I won't eat the gizzards of lobster - it just grosses me out too much.

    I refuse to eat sea urchin in sushi. I tried it once. The texture really challenged my gag reflex.

    I've tried crickets at the restaurant at the Santa Monica Airport. They were pretty good. I think I could eat ants, but I'd have a hard time eating grubs or worms.

    I've had buffalo, vension, elk, ostrich, wild boar, rabbit, eel, squab, pheasant, duck, goose ... never had the opportunity to try snake, alligator, cat, dog, or rat. Not sure but I think I'd probably try them, depending.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. well, anonymous, this stopped being fun after your first comment, but I answered you anyway. I'm no longer in the mood for any more religeous debate in a food blog!

    and it's *my* blog ::clenches fists and stomps around a bit:: so I'm deleting the "no fun" part of your post, but I'll retain the topical part here:

    What do I eat that I say I won't eat? I have an ethical problem with foie gras and veal. But I have eaten them from time to time (usually if it's free food or catered at an event ;) ... which I admit is a poor excuse!).

    P. S. I bet you're just cracking up over my feed-the-pope-through-the-nose April Fool's entry. A bonus joke if you know puttanesca originates from whores luring customers!


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