Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Omnivorous Vegetarian

No food blog would be complete without talking about eating morals. Mostly it's just a lot of self-righteous hooey and chest thumping but at the core there is a key moral question.

Is it right to kill animals for your pleasure?

If you believe not then the logic is pretty darned clear.

If you believe it is then you must accept the premise that you may not waste any of it. Eat the nasty bits, so to speak. Hence, tripe, hearts, lungs, livers and the whole head-to-tail thing.

This is the injection of the vegetarian moral position into the omnivorous debate. Kill but waste not. A perfectly logical position that traditionally hss homes in as disparate places as Italy and China.

The CC is an omnivore. However, he is intelligent enough to recognize the "other" position.

What baffles him is the in-between position - "I'll eat this but not that."

This isn't preference which is natural. "I hate everything Egyptian", Goethe once said. That is taste. This is fear. And being scared of food is a horrible horrible thing.

So pick a side, any side. It just doesn't matter (except to you.)

But be consistent.


macavity said...

I grappled with the food morality issue in Singapore. My colleagues treated the US team to a Chinese New Year meal. Along with an abundance of seafood served, one dish ordered happened to be shark fin soup. When I hesitated my colleague leaned over and said "atleast don't let the animal die in vain"... so I ate it. I buy his argument, I also buy the argument for sustainable seafood and I understand that farmed seafood is not ideal because the limited diet fed to these creatures is not their natural diet in a natural environment. Hence, I am vegetarian as much as I can be. In situations where I don't have a choice, I become a practitioner of the theory you describe.

ShockingSchadenfreude said...

These are complex situations that don't exactly get summed up in a soundbite.

However, I was also arguing a more basic position. If you're comfortable eating (sustainable) pork then logically, you should also eat (sustainable) horse.

I'm arguing against the completely absurd arbitrary "cuteness" factor.

hector said...

If you're sqeamish about 'wasting nothing' because it involves eating hearts and lungs and whatnot, but you admire and seek to emulate the morality therein- have a hot dog! It contains 'everything but the squeal'!

And there's always head cheese...

Brendan said...

How about eating (sustainable) human?

hector said...

But should we eat cute humans? I say...let's eat the volunteer veal. The cute are better as eye candy.