About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007
Here Kitty
If you love the wild food exploits of Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, you might want to check this out. If you are a cat lover you might not. I'm still not sure what to think, my thrifty side says waste not, want not and I'm sure Hugh wouldn't mind a taste.

It's curious how food can arouse strong emotions about what we can and can't eat. Different countries, cultures and religions have their own mores about what is acceptable to eat - I love a good steak, but would be pilloried in parts of India for it and of course pork would get you in trouble elsewhere.

But when it comes down to pets, anthropomorphism hops into the equation, giving a slight cannibalistic piquancy to chowing down on kitty or rover. But why do we feel this way? Other countries have no qualms and probably think we are a bit strange for holding such taboos. It all probably comes down to how we are raised. Take offal for instance. Unless you have someone in the family that cooks it, it's very unlikely you will have much contact with it and the less appealing it seems next to meat.

In our household, we like these variety cuts, but still, we eat them perhaps once or twice a month at most and I have a hard time convincing my older children to eat these dishes at all. One son was happily chomping on some tongue, when he discovered what it was, refused to eat another bite. In a brave moment, my eldest daughter asked to try some black pudding, but when faced with the reality of it, baulked.

It's fair to say that where I live, there are plenty of cats and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
  posted at 1:56 pm

At 5:35 pm, Blogger kazari_lu said...

I'm not sure about this one Neil. I think if somebody served it to me, I'd eat it. But I wouldn't choose to cook it myself...

At 7:21 pm, Blogger Lydia said...

For me it was just the opposite -- as a child, I would eat the tongue that my grandmother prepared, and now, as an adult, I can't stand the thought of it. Or of eating offal. Or cats.

At 7:45 am, Blogger Ange said...

I guess for me, Mojo (my cat) is not just a pet, he is part of the family & how can you eat your loved ones :). So thats how I view all other cats & dogs out there too, whereas the cows & pigs etc & born to be eaten by me, yum!

At 8:53 am, Blogger Anh said...

Right, I admit I have tasted cat and dog before (culture issue here I guess). But it has never been my things, so I prefer not to eat them anymore....

I still dun mind tounge or offal. But not on a regular absis I guess....

At 1:40 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi kazari_lu, I think I'm with you there, I don't want to be a piker or anything. The first taste would be the hardest.

Hi lydia, I remember eating lambs tongue as a young child and upon finding out its identity, refused it just like my son.

Hi ange, that's the Gordian knot right there, it must come down to how you are raised within a particular culture as some have no such problem.

Hi anh, is it that you didn't like the taste, or was it the thought that stopped you? We are semi-regular with offal, but only the things we like, we have a white pudding in the fridge at the moment, which I have to admit liking more than fresh liver.

At 3:46 pm, Blogger kitchen hand said...

Neil, can you come around here and bring your knife set?

Some neighbours are so irresponsible. After a program of responsible cat elimination (i.e. council cages) last year some neighbours have let cats go again, i.e., breed unrestrained and turn feral.

Personally I am an 'eat anything' type but would probably baulk at cat. I always have chickens' feet at yum cha, to the occasional disgust of my fellow diners, also the delicious tripe. Both these delicacies are superior to the ubiquitous buns and dumplings everyone else seems to chow down on.

At 12:00 am, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I eat meat but almost never crave it. Sometimes I actually think "It's been six months since I've had a hamburger, today I want one." I'd never seek to eat cat, doesn't have an appeal.

At 6:18 am, Blogger Blue Zebra said...

LOL Neil very thought provoking thread! As I read Tanna's post just above mine, I read it as, "I almost never crave cat..." haha!

It brings to mind a favorite joke of ours because we have crummy neighbors that let their animals run wild around our yard and in our flower beds etc..."We love cats. They're best prepared on the grill with a nice honey mustard glaze..."

But seriously, we do love animals and I do think it absolutely depends on how you were raised. No offal for this girl! (except some pates please! :D )

At 12:50 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi kitchen hand, strangely, I have no problem with disposing of pests of any sort. I seem to remember after your council clean out of cats, wasn't there a mouse plague? We'll have to do yum cha together, for sadly I'm in the only one in my crew that eats chickens' feet.

Hi tanna, your right there, it doesn't appeal to me either, though if it were served up in some banquet and the host would be offended if I didn't try it, I think I could.

Hi blue zebra, I think love and respect for animals is the way to go. Honey/mustard you say...

At 2:08 pm, Blogger Anh said...

Hi Neil, I stopped eating these types of meat because they didn't really appeal... I mean, dog meat is far too smelly and 'heaty', even if it is well-cooked. Cat meat (the 'kitty' one) is pretty similar to chicken so I don't see much points eating it.

But you know, these meats are very popular in Vietnam. If you are lucky enough, you can get some rats in certain village, too.


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