Thursday, July 24, 2008

Plutarch and bunnies

A friend forwarded me a link to an article by Toronto Star food editor Kim Honey, who I think took the low road this week by playing the sensationalist (and insensitive) card by writing an article about wilderness survivalism that includes a description of her failed attempt to kill a rabbit and features a photo of her ''cuddling'' it before her survivalist instructor struck it three times to slaughter it. There seems to be this post-Pollan trend for food writers these days to try to prove their hipness through descriptions of intentions or acts of brutality -- displaying their attempts at so-called ''conscious eating'' by getting their own hands bloody. I hope the trend passes soon.

One of the last comments left on the Toronto Star's website was a quote from Plutarch's work Moralia that I thought was particularly fitting:

For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man [...] touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived. How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds? [...] We slaughter harmless, tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beauty and grace. [...] For the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being.

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