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Posts Tagged ‘snails’

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Two days ago I found myself in a Whole Foods hungry and in a mood where I guess I was open to trying new things.  I passed the seafood counter and noticed large brown escargot available for 79 cents each.  Never had ’em before.  Never wanted ’em before.  But that day I bought two.  Not bad.  I might try them again.  I’ve been lucky throughout my life to have the opportunity to experience new foods.  In Thailand I was served fresh jumping snake by hillside villagers.  In Montana I had my first and so far only taste of bison.  Currently I live adjacent to neighborhoods with restaurants representing just about every culture in the world.  I can’t always afford to eat in them but I can certainly press my face to their windows.  Window shopping is what I primarily do at one particular store  in my area that is famous for its meats, cheeses, oils and pasta from around the world.  I am used to viewing  on its shelves kangaroo, Kobe beef, ostrich, rabbit, venison, bison, frog legs, duck and every now and then plain ol’ chicken.  I have come to expect the “exotic” but I did not expect the lion.  In fact, I thought the label on the package had a typo.  But the butcher made clear that there had been no typo.  The store was indeed offering up African lion by the steak.

A gentleman standing next to me said softly, “I don’t know what to think about that.”  Many days later I’m not sure what to think either.  When I speak about this with other people, the ensuing conversation has little to do with legalities or food safety.  It quickly becomes a conversation of ideology about food and perception of the lion.  Just as I had been curious about the taste of snails, there were people I spoke with who were curious about the taste of lion.  Other people were enraged at the thought that such a majestic predatory beast was being served up … like deer.  And there were others who were saddened to learn that an animal so important to the culture of a people (the Maasai) was being “farm-raised” so to speak for American palates.  Everyone with whom I spoke were meat-eaters.  And they all recognized that for every point they made, there was a counter point.  So, at present, I’m left with feeling that it all just comes down to perspective, understanding what I value about my food and why, and being open to engaging with others about their beliefs.

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