[Sca-cooks] Magpies

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Tue Mar 4 02:00:45 PST 2008

On Mar 4, 2008, at 4:31 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Adamantius replied to me with:
> <<< Eating them? I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't some
> practice of
> eating alligators in China, at least in some medical capacity.
> Certainly a bunch of other reptiles are eaten...
> I'd kind of assume, though, that Europeans would be turned off by the
> whole, um, non-docile man-eater thing... >>>
> Why do you say that? Wouldn't bear fit that "non-docile man-eater
> thing" and if I remember right, we do have a couple of recipes for
> bear meat.

I believe we do, but I'd suspect those are exceptions that prove a  
rule. Put them on a virtual balance scale against recipes for chicken.  
Now against mutton. Beef. Pork. Now against all of those, together.  
Try the same experiment with lions. Tigers. Wolves. Sharks.

Now, these are dangerous animals we're talking about, and it may be  
that that's the most obvious reason why we don't seem to show too much  
evidence for their consumption in the recipe sources, but then things  
like an angry stag or a wild boar are plenty dangerous. A large wild  
boar can, and did, disembowel a hunter in a second, and they were  
still hunted and eaten in medieval Europe, much more so, apparently,  
than bears.

European literature for centuries, pretty much, has indicated a  
comparative distaste for the eating of predators and other carnivorous  
animals, and a relative preference for herbivores, based on both the  
ease of capture/dispatch, and for their flavor. Whether there's any  
level of taboo about eating animals which, in turn, eat people (or  
would, given the opportunity or necessity) is only speculation on my  
part, but a couple bear recipes don't seem to make the argument  
invalid on their own merits.


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