The Other, Other, Other, Other White Meat

Full Disclosure:  I have been a vegetarian for fifteen years

Some people write letters to the editor when they read a story they don’t like.   And some of those people anxiously open up the paper for days hoping to see their brilliance in newsprint.  And then when they don’t, they pull up their blog and write a post.

So consider this a preemptive move on my part in response to the New York Times Dining section cover story today, “Don’t Tell the Kids.”

To quote: “Some may feel squeamish about eating it, but rabbit has a fan base that is growing as cooks discover how good the meat tastes.”

Oh yeah, well, how do those chefs or super fans know that cat doesn’t taste amazing, sauteed in a little white wine & garlic, or that a beagle’s hind quarters fry up just right in vegetable oil and served with hush puppies (irony for effect)  make the perfect companion to a hearty Zinfandel?

By framing this story with a cute title then jumping right in to a group of Brooklyn hipsters (does anyone else wish the whole borough would be taken back – preferably with force –  by the  poor immigrants that founded it?) with their carving knives in “Abercrombie & Fitch bags” and catch phrase desires for small, family farming, the article tries hard to foster debate.

But what they really want to say is, rabbit tastes good.  So what?

Don’t tell the children.  Why?  Will their crying drown out the moans of culinary ecstasy?  Will their incessant questions about eating a cute, furry creature add just a dash of buzzkill to the roadkill?

I’ll ask my first question again.  If rabbit’s are fair game (pun intended) why not cats and dogs?  Some cultures eat them while the average American identifies them as savages.  And you can’t tell me it won’t taste as good as Filet Mignon.  You don’t know.  How about whipping up a bowl of Hamster nuggets for that next dinner party?  It might be sublime.

(Jumping down off soapbox)

Truth is, I’m a hypocritical vegetarian.  My kids eat meat, my dog and cat eat meat and I’ve often joked that the cuter the animal the more likely my wife will eat it.  I’ve previously looked down on those who made their children into mini-me’s, mirroring their habits and politics like the little sponges they can be.  But now, I’m beginning to appreciate the mindset of Jonathan Safran Foer even more.  Parenthood changed his view on how his children should be fed.  They’re pretty young so perhaps he’s not showing them the picture or reading them the piece in the Times today.  But I think I’m going to show it to mine.

For in the immortal words of Elmer Fudd, if it’s “Wabbit Season” it may be time for me to make like Bugs.

“Of course you realize this means war.”

Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 3:32 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Eric

    I grew up eating rabbit (and hare). But then, I grew up in a place where animals had a utilitarian purpose – companionship and emotional bonding were not on the list. Yes, the little animals had a visual appeal, but we weighed that against the need for protein. They were food.
    As a kid I helped prepare these animals for eating – from the killing to the plucking and the skinning.
    My grandfather, by example, showed me that you slaughtered an animal for your own sustenance. You were not cruel about it, and you wasted nothing.

    Many bristle and the visage and philosophy of Ted Nugent who likes to say: “Before you can grill it, you have to kill it” (or something like that). I don’t see that adage as some cavalier, alpha-male attitude. I see is as a truth from which our nugget-eating children have unnecessarily been sheltered.

  2. correction:

    “Many bristle at the visage and philosophy of Ted Nugent…”

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