Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My place in the food chain

Friends and family have long marveled at what they call my “picky eating habits”. I don’t look at my habits as picky any more than I consider their eating habits to be “haphazard”. We all like different things, right? That’s why “Baconaise” was invented.

For instance, I don’t care much for salad. Or, really, vegetables of any kind. I consider eating plants to be unnatural. Animals eat plants and I eat animals. Basically, I’m cutting out the middleman.

But really it’s a moral issue with me. I really can’t condone the way salad is killed. Ripped apart with the bare hands? Barbaric.

I’m really not hip to anything that isn’t an animal by-product. There are some vegetables I’ll eat—corn, peas, cooked carrots—but only because they go perfectly with roast. There are other vegetables I avoid because of the texture. I’m not a fan of the “surprise crunch” that you get while shoveling, say, an omelet into your mouth and getting the unpleasant grit of a green pepper bit or an onion. I order my cheeseburgers without salad toppings like lettuce or tomato for that very reason: cheeseburgers are not crunchy and should not be. I get a crunchy cheeseburger I prefer to think that it’s either burnt or still contains an amount of hoof. The lettuce and tomato just add ambiguity.

Salads, to me, look like large bowls of lawn clippings. I don’t eat those either.

Now, admitting this to people, an odd question usually asked of me is “do you hunt?” Maybe that’s a reasonable question—people who dig salads often do their own gardening. But no, I don’t hunt. In fact, during hunting season, our land is notorious for harboring deer. There have been some seasons where the higher grass of my land undulates like a storm-tossed ocean from all the deer lurking within.

And when interrogated about my not hunting, I offer this simple explanation: I am a modern man. I take advantage of supermarket technology. I like that I can buy a lump of meat, wrapped in cellophane attached to Styrofoam, take it home and eat said meat lump without having to go through the bother of gutting, deboning and de-cute-ing.

If you are a hunter, and you eat what you hunt, bravo. But if you’re simply hunting for sport, wouldn’t you be better off going after something that can fight back? Like a transient or a Mormon? Unless the deer wear armor, I don’t see much sport in it. Of course, judging from some of the people in my area, staring wistfully at my deer-choked property, perhaps the allure of hunting boils down to freezing your ass off in a tree in the hopes that something soft and fuzzy wanders by with a target on its head.

Which brings me to my final reason of not hunting, directly relating to supermarket technology. Years before I was born, man also invented indoor technology, complete with forced heat, blankets and satellite TV. When I’m hungry, I can go into my kitchen, open the box where cold is stored, take out a de-cuted lump of meat, fry it up on my heat-generating box, and eat it without worrying about a kamikaze crunch or a pair of big brown eyes staring up at me begging me not to kill it.

No, it’s not the sort of philosophy that religions are based on, but it’s a fair summation of why I’m not invited to dinner too often.

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