So I thought some more on this and realized one thing I find curious about folks who profess they “eat anything.” From my reading of Pellegrini’s book, I know in my own history there were lots of animals and animal parts I didn’t eat, when I “ate everything.” But calf liver was on the menu, just about every week when I was a kid, and I have eaten steak and kidney pie.
We are heading back down south for a few days before Christmas and I was musing aloud that it had been awhile since I have seen jars of pickled pigs feet or buckets of chitlings in the freezer case. Folks who think vegetarians are somehow odd due to their food prejudices would likely not be eager to dive into a taco with brains or tripe. But why not? Meat is meat, and perhaps if people ate more of these diverse delicacies, we would have been spared mad cow disease (the feed that is suspected of causing the spread of this stemmed from feeding the offal of slaughtered animals to others. Obviously, it had no value as a human food.)
Pellegrini makes the point that he ate what he ate out of an appetite for it, but also because of his frugal upbringing and his desire to get the most value from his pantry and icebox. Throwing away most of a carcass when there was so much edible stuff left on it was not acceptable. Here in the industrialized world, meat is a commodity that comes pre-sliced in little wrapped trays, but if you look behind the counter, you can see the meat cutters, maybe cutting a joint into manageable pieces, maybe working on a full carcass as it hangs on a hook. I don’t know if most shoppers give a lot of thought to what they eat in that sense or what the things they eat ate themselves.
Seriously, if people are going to look at vegetarians as cranks (not that I care: a crank is an eccentric with a smaller bank balance, in my book, and eccentrics are tolerated more often) because of what we don’t eat, can we have a new category or steakatarian or muscle-meat-no-organ-meat-arian?
I’m not so sure who’s being picky . . . . when I get asked what I am going to eat for Thanksgiving, I suggest the questioner take the bird or ham off the table and leave me the rest. I’ll be fine.