Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Dietary Restrictions of the Privileged


I came across a comment in an old post:

"If most people had to kill their own food, most people would be vegetarians."

I suppose that sounds right, but it's provably not true.

The history of man is that we hunted for meat and killed it ourselves for 2 million years.

This is what we did.

It is written in the grooves on mammoth bones, spear points, and campfires the world over.

It is why we domesticated chickens, sheep, goats, camels, horses, cows, ducks, geese, pigs, and pigeons.

We raised our own meat and killed it too. It was sold alive in the market until 150 years ago as there was no refrigeration. You wanted chicken for dinner? You killed it in the back yard. I grew up in North Africa where sheep were led home on a rope, and M├ęchoui is what followed. 

There is no trick or art in killing, and it is not shocking after you have done it and lived with it. This was the "daily normal" for almost all of human history.

It is only the arrogance of modern lazy times when ripe fruit is delivered in winter, and sugar and nuts come in a bag, that we have embraced foreign foods such as potatoes and tofu, almonds, and pumpkins, papaya and pineapple.

There is nothing wrong with vegetarianism, but it is an affectation of modern rich white people who have cheap food, close by, delivered in airplanes and trucks, harvested by unseen peasants many thousands of miles away.

6 comments:

geonni banner said...

Hmmmm, I suspect that what this person may meant to have said is "If most modern people had to kill their own food, most people would be vegetarians."

I suspect that that might be true, although it might be more accurate to say that most modern people (at least, white urban people) would be dead if they had to kill their own food, whether that food is a bunny or a carrot. Hunger is a strong motivator, but stupidity and ineptitude are great handicaps.

Mary Pang said...

Maybe not a trick or art but I think it's a skill, which I would learn if I had to. In hong kong many animals are sold live for food. I'm sentimental enough to feel sorry for them but, yes, I'll still eat them. Well, maybe mot the toads.

TEC said...

Was it earlier on this blog that had me lol when I read, " 'Veg-e-tar-ian', is ancient word for bad hunter"? Maybe it needs the accompanying illustration for full effect.

Madam le Consul said...

While show-off vegetarianism really does exist, especially in the 'first world,' let's not forget that roughly 700 million South Asians of all income levels are lifelong, healthy vegetarians. There are, especially in Mumbai, apartment buildings where it's known that meat-cookers and -eaters are welcome; others where they are not, since just the smell of cooking meat truly (not pretentiously) repels genuine vegetarians.
Even in the US, it really is less expensive to be vegetarian, too, as long as one doesn't get carried away by some weird and unnecessary desire to consume the same produce all year round, and by the extremely limited charms of tofu and other creepy pseudo-meat items. I seriously question the veg-ism of those who can't manage to eat without $10-a-pound soy-based 'nuggets' and 'burgers' and 'wings' (oh my!).

Jennifer said...

I cry sexist!!! I can't remember the references, but I do remember seeing meticulous analysis of hunter gatherer diets in a few places and, surprise!!!1 the gatherers (ie, the women) contributed more to the daily nutrition than the hunters (ie., men).

Nothing against hunting. But sometimes it gets over-rated. And I think the paleo diet folks are bonkers.

Eirik Gabrielsen said...

I guess what it all boils down to is; Does it have a cute face? In other words, how much do I identify with a potensial future dinner?