[Sca-cooks] Why *X* and not *Y*?

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Fri Aug 1 13:55:09 PDT 2008

On Aug 1, 2008, at 3:37 PM, Laureen Hart wrote:

> I can understand not being comfortable crossing food boundaries  
> learned in
> childhood.

Sure, me too, and especially if it's presented to a child in terms of,  
"These are the foods we should eat," rather than, "These are things we  
should not eat," since brevity is the soul of wit and all that, and  
there are bound to be items that will be assumed to be inappropriate  
for no other reason than that they're not on the Approved List,  
perhaps because the makers of the List never heard of them. There may  
be other reasons, too, but in general, when you've got a semi-closed  
set of things you can eat, it tends not to leave as much room for  
interpretation, I suspect.

> We have a friend who doesn't eat pork because her mom never cooked  
> it. Her
> dad had been brought up Jewish so her mom respected that. Her mom is
> Lutheran and the kids were brought up Lutheran but they maintained  
> the pork
> prohibition. Our friend has never tried pork, even though her  
> logical brain
> knows there is no "real" reason not to. She is not particularly food
> curious.

Yep. As with my Dad and lamb, he hadn't been brought up eating it and  
disliking it: he'd been brought up by a guy who wouldn't allow it in  
the house because he'd been on an ocean voyage courtesy of the US Army  
(I checked, it wasn't the Marines, it was the US Army's Tientsin  
garrison in 1912) eating badly-cooked mutton in some form for most  
meals, more than once a day, every day for months.

My Dad liked lamb. He ate it fairly frequently. Mom told him it was  
beef. He figured it out after several years of this going on, and they  
reached a sort of detente in which he continued to dislike lamb and  
mutton intensely, and the exact nature of the quadruped source of the  
red meat on the table was not discussed in detail.

I suspect there's at least a percentage of Americans who claim to  
dislike lamb, who cannot reliably distinguish it from other red meats,  
either by its flavor or by its famous, allegedly rank aroma.

> I can't identify with choosing to adopt a food path that doesn't offer
> concrete rationale for its proscriptions.

Me, neither, but people do it all the time, and sometimes for better  
reasons than the ones they have for accepting all the other cr*p  
they're constantly being told without question.

> But if people choose to do that it is groovy, as long as they don't  
> get
> pushy with me. (ala the recent vegetarian/vegan discussions).
> I am very food curious, I was brought up that way. I have not yet  
> been faced
> with anything I don't think I could try. I pretty much know I would  
> have
> emotional issues eating cat, I would try dog I think, if it was dog  
> raised
> to eat like they do in Korea and other countries.

I think there's a switch in one's had for controlling where the line  
is drawn. I think I might have issues with eating cats and dogs, but  
if you worry that they're intelligent animals, you end up realizing  
that a lot of the animals we eat commonly are pretty intelligent in  
some ways (pigs, for example, as well as ducks and geese, to name but  
a few), and if I start thinking about higher versus lower life forms,  
I can look across the room at the loaches in the tank, and take note  
of the incredibly complex, and almost certainly emotionally-charged  
social interaction that goes on between them. I could continue with  
that line of thinking until I am forced to be a vegetarian, or not. I  
choose not.

> I am pretty sure if I was
> faced with starvation I would try a lot of things that sound really  
> gross
> right now - bugs and such. My ex husband was food xenophobic. When we
> traveled he only wanted to eat at "safe" places...my current husband  
> is way
> more adventurous. We always figure that the freaky little place may  
> be the
> worst greasy spoon ever, or possibly the best food ever.

Well, that's really the thing. All life is a gamble to some extent,  
and if you never gamble, you never win (and one could argue you don't  
live, either). If you gamble intelligently, you win more often than not.

> We have gotten bit
> with food borne illness once, but it won't curb our enthusiasm for  
> trying
> new stuff.

I've been lucky. I've gotten sick from food twice; once from a frozen  
product which I suspect had been thawed and refrozen a couple extra  
times, and once at my mother-in-law's house ["We didn't have fridges  
in Toysan in the 1930's and nobody ever got sick!"]


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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