Feast of a Thousand Beasts Update

14 Mar

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Since the last time I posted, I’ve had:

  • Turkey
  • Pork (the last of the homemade bacon! so sad!)
  • Buffalo (delicious Tanka bites! the finest of snacks!)
  • Anchovies (in the form of the Asian fish sauce and Worcestershire sauce that I tend to slather over everything)

I’m also retroactively adding elk to the list. I know that’s cheating, but this project is more about my own curiosity to figure out what percentage of Noah’s Ark I’ve gleefully devoured than anything else.

This brings my total count to a measly 8 beasts.

At the end of this month I’m attending a medieval culinary symposium, one of the highlights of my year. I anticipate that a great many beasts may be added to the list.

The reader may notice the greatest deficiency: sea beasts. I like fish for the most part (and I love crab with an unholy fervor), but Better Half hates all things fish-like. I can sometimes get her to eat salmon, and I have observed her eating canned tuna of her own volition. Other than that, she pretty much won’t eat any fish. Since it’s also kind of expensive (if you want to get the good stuff, and if you’re not getting the good stuff I’m hard pressed to see the point) I don’t usually cook it at home.

Additionally, I will not, under any circumstances, eat cephalopods. In fact, this is the only ethical food restriction that I have ever adhered to for any length of time. I was a vegetarian (and later a vegan) briefly, I used to not eat bunnies and ducks because I think they are “cute,” but now I’m the kind of horrible person who eats foie gras and veal whenever I can get my fat little mitts on some. It’s not that I don’t have ethical feelings about food (I buy local, I work hard to investigate the sources of my food, especially meats, and more), I just don’t seem to have the usual ones.

But cephalopods are different. I watch a lot of Tony Bourdain’s body of work, and there have only been two times that I have averted my eyes: once when he ate something seemingly innocuous which made me feel really queasy (I don’t actually remember what this was, but I remember Better Half made fun of me — it was probably a deep fried Twinkie) and once when an octopus was about to be killed. I get sad at sushi restaurants when I see squid or octopus or cuttlefish. If calamari really were made from pork bungs, I’d order it. And this is also the only area where I’ll get genuinely upset by the thought that other people eat these animals that I don’t eat — when I think about how many cephalopods end up on dinner plates, I feel sick to my stomach.

I can’t really explain this. Cephalopods are incredibly intelligent, but so are pigs. They’re beautiful creatures with a complex social world, but so are geese. They are perfectly happy to live out their wild lives without us interfering, but so are salmon, and crab, and pheasants, and deer. It’s a double standard. I know that. But I still love them and can’t deal with the idea of eating them.

I feel as strongly about eating cephalopods as I do about eating whales. Hell, maybe more so — I was pretty incensed that I couldn’t eat that whale that got caught in the Klamath river a couple of years ago, and if I had a chance to eat an orca that had been traditionally harvested by First Nations people, I would probably try it (although I think I’d also possibly feel horrible afterwards). But I don’t think I could ever, EVER eat an octopus.

I like to believe that when our Squid Overlords rise up out of the sea and finally take their places as rightful rulers of the land, I might be spared the worst of their wrath. I think that perhaps they will allow me to dance for their amusement with my laughably insufficient number of limbs.

I’m pretty sure the rest of you are all totally boned, though.

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2 Responses to “Feast of a Thousand Beasts Update”

  1. Sharon Rose March 14, 2013 at 2:32 PM #

    Funny, I am exactly the same way about rabbits. I cannot eat them or wear their skins. Blackberry saved my life by making me laugh when I was suicidal from constant pain (pain that, according to lots of docs, was going to last forever). She was clever and opinionated and brash. I know squids are smart and interesting (I do feel a pang when I indulge), and I know cows are sweet and pigs are smart… but I don’t mind devouring them a bit. Total hypocrite!

    • thecavehedonist March 20, 2013 at 8:31 PM #

      I don’t know why in my brain “adorable pet bunnies” and “rabbits I eat” are different. I blame Hektor. I wish I could have known Blackberry, she sounds so awesome. I would give her bunny kisses!

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