Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

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Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Daniel Rogov » Sat Mar 21, 2009 5:12 pm

Inspired by Vincenzo's comments on the wine side of the forum, are there foods you consider forbidden and thus do not eat because of environmental or other moral reasons. No – not because of religious reasons but either in the way it relates to the environment - e.g. harming the balance of sea-life, certain endangered species (animal or vegetable), because it might harm the physical setting of a given place or because you consider the eating of these foods in some way inhumane?

The example given by Vincenzo was dattel mussels ([u]daterri di[/i] mare in Italian), bivalve mollusks that burrow into and thus form a support network for certain cliffs. Other examples might include foie gras made by force-feeding geese, Chilean sea bass, and yes, depending on your moral outlook, even meat in general.
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Shel T » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:51 pm

Am granting that the following may sound flippant...LOL well maybe it is!
I refuse to eat puppies and kittens, hummingbird tongues, snake heads, gorilla, elephant, grubs, but might get around to trying fugu one day.
I'm also all for feeding poachers to endangered wild life.
Apart from that, probably all else is 'fair game'!
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Matilda L » Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:12 am

I wouldn't eat ape meat. Chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos are pretty close relatives - couldn't bring myself to do it. Too close to cannibalism. The practice of eating the brains of a live monkey is disgusting and I wouldn't go near it. Eating should not involve cruelty. I also am troubled by the idea of eating endangered species.
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Vincenzo di N » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:51 am

This is an intriguing issue, thanks Daniel.
I believe there are different prohibitions.

Those coming from the law. But people do not seem too much impressed by this and often prohibition is only an added taste to our culinary curiosity. Basically I am frustrated by the damages to the environment or to endangered species. Although this, I am still cynically able to dream and voraciously eat horse meat or datteri di mare. Like the French President Mitterand who in one of his last suppers “had” to eat one of the last surviving bird, the ortolan, drowned in armagnac, as prescribed in the romance Gigi by Colette. Ooh the pleasure of being sometimes an outlaw.

Then, there is food prohibited by the ethics. This changes always since it is directly linked to the historical moments . Tomatoes were evil because suspiciously perfect in the shape, too much red and clean although growing in the terrain. Although American by origins, there are very poor traces of tomatoes in the American cuisine and culture (ketchup is another issue). Chocolate was too lasciviuos in the XVIII century. The last over devout wife of King Luis XVI, Madame de Maintenon, spread the rumor that by eating chocolate a lady would have given birth to a black baby. On the other side, the baby would had been white, if the young African mother from Ciad had eaten an egg in the XIX century. In the middle age the Christian fury included the apple into the paganism, even the shape is satanic since it reminds you that of the vagina when you cut it in two (the apple of course, not the vagina). Don't forget that it was offered by Eva. And not by chance the cider is from the North of Europe, the “Pagan world”, while the grape and the wine are from the “Christian South Europe”. In the XIX a young American lady was suspected of being lesbian just because she was refusing to eat meat.

Not to mention the food prohibited by the religion. You name it. Pity that so much good food fall within the sphere of religion. There are no religion without prohibited food...Ohhh, the pleasure of being secular.

Then there is food prohibited by the culture we belong to. What we call extreme food is nothing more than acceptable for the “others”. Some big fat rats in Africa, the embryo of some lamb in Asia, in Honk Kong a soup with a drop of bile from the gall bladder of a cobra, the snake tequila in Mexico, the cheese maggots (definitely worms) in the Sardinia island, the baby mouse wine again in China, the dogs eaten in Canton as well as in some areas of Bologna, the chicken fetus or fried ox penis in Bejing...no need to continue...Let’s say that with a rational approach (and a large, sometimes really large, amount of culinary curiosity) we might eat everything we recognize as coming from a cultural process, from a tradition but often only if it belongs to our culture. I don't know if I would be so brave.

And finally there is the food prohibited by our physician. And this is not another issue since it is the only one that really counts, at least for me. But I am brave enough, not to listen to him.

Gosh, I wrote too much, sorry
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Tim York » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:07 am

I am influenced by the usual Western taboos. I won't eat the following categories -

- "Man's best friends", e.g. dogs, cats, horses
- Too similar to man, e.g. monkeys
- Disgusting, e.g. rats, snakes, crocodiles

There is a certain flexibility in and out of the these categories. When I was a child, I was disgusted by the thought of eating snails, but one visit to France was enough to convince me that escargots are delicious. In times of famine, e.g. the siege of Paris in the 1870s and in Holland in the last winter of the 39-45 war, people found themselves able to eat domestic pets and zoo animals.

My daughter will not eat game ("it is wicked to kill wild animals") but will eat beef, lamb, pork ("if we didn't, the species would be in danger"). And she will not eat duck and rabbit because she puts them into the "man's best friend" category.

I do not particularly enjoy visiting agricultural fairs where livestock is exhibited. It reminds me too much of the act of killing necessary to transform that splendid beast into the meat in my plate which I enjoy so much. There may be a potential vegetarian lurking inside me.
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:07 pm

If it tastes good and they don't cause it undue pain when they kill it, I figure it is possible material for the larder, assuming that I like the taste.

In asking this question you raise a sore point - all the nutters that claim all living things feel and you shouldn't eat meat/fish/even vegies because of that give me indigestion.

I think that the only thing I'd avoid eating would be a member of PETA, as I rather expect they are a tasteless lot.....probably mostly gristle.

I would also avoid any endangered species as my inconvenience in not being able to eat them would be outweighed by their inconvenience in not being around any more.
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:23 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:... I think that the only thing I'd avoid eating would be a member of PETA, as I rather expect they are a tasteless lot.....probably mostly gristle.



Bill, Hi....


If by any chance you do decide to eat a member of PETA, be sure that they are true vegetarians. As is well known animals that are primarily carnivores (e.g. lions, tigers and human beings) are indeed less flavorful and more stringy than those that are herbivores.

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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:53 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:If by any chance you do decide to eat a member of PETA, be sure that they are true vegetarians. As is well known animals that are primarily carnivores (e.g. lions, tigers and human beings) are indeed less flavorful and more stringy than those that are herbivores.


Ah, but from all I have seen, a defining characteristic of this species is an excess of bile, which would surely taint the meat..... :mrgreen:
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:13 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:Ah, but from all I have seen, a defining characteristic of this species is an excess of bile, which would surely taint the meat.....



Ah, but Bill you speak specifically to the members of PETA while I was referring to the meat of human beings in general.


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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:31 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:Ah, but Bill you speak specifically to the members of PETA while I was referring to the meat of human beings in general.


And what would your favourite sauces for 'long pig' be.... (guess I'd better stop before I draw any vorarephiles hiding in the woodwork...)


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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:42 pm

Bill, Hi....

Although I have never prepared "long pig" nor, to the best of my knowledge eaten any of my human planetary companions, it is clear that such meat should be prepared much as one would wild game. As to sauce, depends on the age of the "meat" before its demise. With very young meat a gentle berry sauce might be well in order and with more mature meat a deep, well spiced red wine sauce. Truth is, I would not be opposed to a fine demi-glace.

If your own sense of humor and/or perversion goes as far as my own you might enjoy my little essay: Cannibalism and the Culinary Life: Eating Our Brothers and Sisters at http://www.stratsplace.com/rogov/cannibal.html

I do enjoy such "asides".

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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Shel T » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:43 pm

An unconfirmed story has it that a PETA party on a mission to convert certain New Guinea natives to the 'true veggy path' wound up in hot water...literally, but sorta-kinda escaped being the main course piecemeal, as these discerning cannibals found them to be completely indigestible. Enter the maggots who were not as discriminating!
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:13 pm

Shel - great story, probably too good to be true.

Rogov - enjoyed the article. I have a set of de Maupassant in translation. Although it has now been many years since I read them all (I am over due for a repeat), I recall more than one story involving cannibalism.

As for your recipe for Marinated Leg of Person, I couldn't resist (but probably should have) adding this image used in the Wiki article on cannibalism. And sorry for the thread drift, but then cannibalism does fit rather well into 'Forbidden Foods'!

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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:52 pm

Bill, Hi.....


Not at all thread drift - in fact directly to the point.

As a technicality of course, the young child in the illustration would be far more tasty than the obviously adult leg being consumed.

I think I'll watch "Night of the Living Dead" again in the near future.

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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Bill Spohn » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:18 pm

Daniel Rogov wrote:As a technicality of course, the young child in the illustration would be far more tasty than the obviously adult leg being consumed.


But I expect the other fellow overdid his wine drinking and rendered himself legless.....
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Vincenzo di N » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:18 am

we all were cannibals. A very interesting book, Guns, gems and steel (by Jared Diamond), try to explain why some civilisation (mainly in Eurasia) advanced more rapidly than others. among the reasons there was the use of agriculture. This might have signed the passage from a meat diet to an "integrated" diets. But the cannibalism was justified not only as ritual or as Pantheistic element but also as a necessity (although, true, it does not exist in nature for other species).
The passion we have for carpaccio, tartare or in general rough meat would trace us back to this anthropological necessity.
But I have, pls, a question. Why are so many events related to cannibalism still registered in former Soviet areas? Do you see any cultural or possible inductive explanation?
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Vincenzo di N » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:59 am

jut to avoid any misunderstanding on my question.
Often cannibalism has been linked to famine.
The strong religious set up in the Western Europe prevented from registering events related to cannibalism even in some hard periods of starvation like there were in the Middle Age.
Do you believe that the more secular recent attitude in the Eastern Europe might have had an opposite effect on the people in periods of starvation?
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby ChefJCarey » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:20 am

If I'm not mistaken there is good data to indicate that Neanderthals were situational cannibals. In the winter when meat was scarce - don't think there were any PETANs around then - they consumed Stevenson's long pigs (although,truth be told, Neanderthals had very squat torsos and short legs). If their bellies were full they buried their dead. Kinda like multinational corporations.
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby ChefJCarey » Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:43 am

Vincenzo di N wrote:we all were cannibals. A very interesting book, Guns, gems and steel (by Jared Diamond), try to explain why some civilisation (mainly in Eurasia) advanced more rapidly than others. among the reasons there was the use of agriculture. This might have signed the passage from a meat diet to an "integrated" diets. But the cannibalism was justified not only as ritual or as Pantheistic element but also as a necessity (although, true, it does not exist in nature for other species).


He must have overlooked a few species...

http://www.biology-online.org/articles/ ... study.html
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Robert Reynolds » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:41 pm

ChefJCarey wrote:
Vincenzo di N wrote:we all were cannibals. A very interesting book, Guns, gems and steel (by Jared Diamond), try to explain why some civilisation (mainly in Eurasia) advanced more rapidly than others. among the reasons there was the use of agriculture. This might have signed the passage from a meat diet to an "integrated" diets. But the cannibalism was justified not only as ritual or as Pantheistic element but also as a necessity (although, true, it does not exist in nature for other species).


He must have overlooked a few species...

http://www.biology-online.org/articles/ ... study.html

Funny, we were watching the Planet Earth series on TV a couple of nights ago, and one of the segments showed a raid by a chimpanzee group on another chimp group, with one of the losers being eaten by the winners. Apparently their version of long pig was mighty fine. :wink:
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Vincenzo di N » Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:05 am

He must have overlooked a few species...


Sorry, ChefJCarey, "He" should be me, right?
Pity that you picked up only that point.
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby ChefJCarey » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:05 am

Vincenzo di N wrote:He must have overlooked a few species...


Sorry, ChefJCarey, "He" should be me, right?
Pity that you picked up only that point.


Pity that you picked up the fact that I was somehow critiquing you. I wasn't.
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Re: Culinary Poll #29: Forbidden Foods

Postby Scott Lancer » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:42 pm

The standards...

Endangered, dogs, horses (I like em both too much), green vegetables (not accurately described as 'food' by my reckoning, apart from pickles), none others I can think of at the moment.
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