Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


You want fries with dat?
March 9, 2010 6:39 AM   Subscribe

Celebrity chef Beppe Bigazzi upset viewers and his host with his recipe for "cat casserole", and has been suspended from the program [Italian]. Inhabitants of Northern Italy, particularly those of Vicenza, are still nicknamed "magnagati" ('cat eaters') as a derogatory term in Venetian. Taking a clue from the Aboriginal population, cooking feral cats has even been proposed in Alice Springs, Australia, to curb the out-of-control feral population.

Personally, I like my cats petted, not poached.
posted by atomicmedia (98 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Be sure to declaw your roast for the best eating experience.
posted by idiopath at 6:46 AM on March 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


But then it will taste funky!
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:47 AM on March 9, 2010


I CAN HAS MEEZBURGER?

sorry
posted by jimmythefish at 6:48 AM on March 9, 2010 [37 favorites]


More seriously , most of us have decided that eating animals is OK and make it a regular part of our diet. Why is it suddenly obscene when the animal is a common housepet? Pigs make decent pets too if well cared for. Even chickens can be quite friendly and domestic in their own way.
posted by idiopath at 6:51 AM on March 9, 2010 [20 favorites]


Wouldn't 'catserrole' be a better name? I've heard from many gastronomes that cat is a delicious meat. Why not eat the feral one's? /not a cat lover
posted by weezy at 6:52 AM on March 9, 2010


Why is it suddenly obscene when the animal is a common housepet?

Because we don't eat things we make emotional attachments to?

I mean, if you use pure logic, there are few good reasons we shouldn't be eating human flesh either. So, in the same way, it may not be logical and yet be perfectly reasonable.
posted by vacapinta at 6:55 AM on March 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


Rabbits are also somewhere on the food / pet continuum, as are horses and frogs.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:56 AM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Didn't you get the memo? The value of a creature's life is directly proportional to its cuteness. (This also explains why a pretty white girl gone missing is national news, whereas a poorly-groomed middle-aged guy could self-immolate and nobody would care.) Pigs are on the menu; toddlers are not.

Cats are adorable, ergo YOU CANNOT EAT THEM!!!!!!
posted by LordSludge at 6:56 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


More seriously , most of us have decided that eating animals is OK and make it a regular part of our diet.

I'm not sure that's really true and this issue is a reason why I think that. Cats are animals. Steaks are food. We know intellectually that steaks were animals, but that's different than viscerally following the process. Mentioning that cats could be food makes one imagine that process, which is uncomfortable.

The fact is that most people are uncomfortable thinking of animals as food.
posted by DU at 6:58 AM on March 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I don't understand meat being off-limits just because most people think the animal is cute. Bunnies are cute too. Eating your pet cat is wrong, eating your neighbor's cat is wrong, eating Sockington is SO FUCKING WRONG, but a feral cat or a cat raised in a farm for meat? Big deal.

I'm not saying McDonalds needs to start serving McKitty burgers (though could you imagine the Garfield tie-ins?) but I think more meat eaters really need to accept just what meat is, and if you can't accept it perhaps you need to think about not eating meat at all.
posted by bondcliff at 7:01 AM on March 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think lambs are cute. I've seen and petted and played with many at this one farm. That was right before we walked over to have a picnic and eat some of the best roast lamb I have ever had!
posted by vacapinta at 7:04 AM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the Italian term for cat-eater is probably mangiagatti
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 7:05 AM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought we don't eat cats cause their meat tastes terrible, there isn't a lot of it, and they're prone to parasites?
posted by The Whelk at 7:06 AM on March 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


One of my funnier faux-pas moments was visiting a hippy drum maker with some friends, and when we went to meet the kid goats I gleefully exclaimed: "baby djembes!".
posted by idiopath at 7:07 AM on March 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I personally wouldn't eat cat, but as an omnivore I can't get all superior about people who do. I think feral cat (or any feral carnivore) would taste pretty nasty though.
posted by JoanArkham at 7:07 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


could you imagine the Garfield tie-ins?

Lasagna Cat.
posted by cog_nate at 7:07 AM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Because we don't eat things we make emotional attachments to?

I'd be quite happy to eat a cat, a dog, or a hamster if I thought it would be tasty and had been reared and killed humanely.But then, I have no emotional attachment to cats, either individually or collectively.

If you're going to draw a line, it should probably be an absolute one (i.e. no animals at all) or one that's based on some kind of ethical stance (i.e. nothing with a reasonable level of intelligence). I choose the latter option, so I try not to eat too many primates, cetaceans or parrots. I'm slightly hypocritical in regard to pigs, which appear to be quite clever creatures, but if they don't want to be eaten, why do they insist on tasting so good???
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:08 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shrug. I'm a cat lover and (mostly) a vegetarian. The salient part of this story isn't "OMG DUDE COOKED A CAT"—it's the denial and compartmentalization that allows people to be outraged by it, while tucking into a nice plate of chicken cacciatore at the very same moment.
posted by ixohoxi at 7:09 AM on March 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think the Italian term for cat-eater is probably mangiagatti

everyplace i looked it was "magnagati" or "vicentini magnagati"
posted by atomicmedia at 7:09 AM on March 9, 2010


I think the Italian term for cat-eater is probably mangiagatti
posted by I_pity_the_fool 2 minutes ago


No, magnagati is right in the Roman dialect.
posted by vacapinta at 7:10 AM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's a slippery slope. First one animal is off-limits as food, and then all of a sudden you're abstaining from meat entirely, and that simply will not—OH WAIT.
posted by wreckingball at 7:10 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


First, I was going to make an ALF joke. Then, I got to thinking.

Not that this is anything original, but I think that this huge line of separation between food and pet is a direct result of consumers no longer being directly involved in the slaughter of their foods. I have some friends who keep chickens, for instance. They've named each and every one of those pullets, and they gush about which chicken did X cute thing the other day. Once the animals stop laying eggs, though, these same people go out into the back yard, guillotine the little fuckers, and sup on the freshest roast chicken you've ever tasted.

For them, meat is something they raise, care for, and feed as part of the process of feeding themselves-- there's a clear line running from the egg that they hatch* to the chicken dinner that they prepare. For my friends, there's no problem with a companion also being an edible thing because they are the agents in shuffling their critters from one phase to the next. I think that the process provides an insight that most people do not get if their poultry-based experiences are limited to the petting zoo and the freezer section with nothing in-between.

So now some Italian chef talks about his experiences with cat, and Metafilter gets angry, maybe because the folks here don't understand the connection between the Mr. Smiggles sitting on their lap and the pot roast that they had the other night. I don't know. I don't keep chickens, and I haven't had a pet since I was a boy. Any farmer-mefites care to chime in?
posted by The White Hat at 7:12 AM on March 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


So now some Italian chef talks about his experiences with cat, and Metafilter gets angry, maybe because the folks here don't understand the connection between the Mr. Smiggles sitting on their lap and the pot roast that they had the other night.

Metafilter doesn't actually seem that angry about it.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:14 AM on March 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


Cat casserole? Oh well.

<>
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:15 AM on March 9, 2010


The fact is that most people are uncomfortable thinking of animals as food.

Some people. You'll have to back up the "most people" assertion with something more than just saying it's a fact.

Because we don't eat things we make emotional attachments to?

Some people make emotional attachments to animals. Some do not. I totally get that some people love animals and don't want to eat them. Fine. No problem. Don't eat them. Kindly leave those of us who do not agree alone to enjoy our food choices.
posted by three blind mice at 7:16 AM on March 9, 2010


I'm switching the "time out room" for our little bastards to be the "time out dutch oven".
posted by backseatpilot at 7:16 AM on March 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nobody here is angry about it. There are just some people slyly accusing others of being hypocrites because they consume one life-form and not another, as if they dont do the same thing themselves.

Clearly the only way out of this bind, the only path to purity is:
1) Eat everything, including people of course.
2) Eat nothing and starve.

This is another of those types of arguments - of which there are millions - which only exist because people are uncomfortable with gray-areas.
posted by vacapinta at 7:19 AM on March 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Tastes like dolphin.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:19 AM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can easily see why people don't want to see adorable animals get eaten. But I don't understand acting like this dark uncrossable line between cats or dogs and pigs or cows actually exists. In any case, pigs are much cuter than cats.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:23 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


(i.e. nothing with a reasonable level of intelligence). I choose the latter option, so I try not to eat too many primates, cetaceans or parrots.

I've kind of fallen into this kind of vegetarianism by accident and with no forces pushing me out of it will likely go deeper.

My wife prefers turkey bacon to pig bacon. And we switched from ground beef to ground turkey because we were nervous about mad cow (and stayed because we prefer it). So basically all we eat is turkey. And turkeys are dumb.
posted by DU at 7:26 AM on March 9, 2010


1) Eat everything, including people of course.

Some of us clearly misguided humans don't put people on the same level as other animals so while we might think it's ok for someone to eat a dog, we don't think it's ok to eat a human unless, say, your rugby team has crashed in the mountains and there's nothing else to eat. I don't know that I'd eat a monkey either.

I can accept that the line between what animals we should and shouldn't eat is based on emotion rather than logic, and I can accept that cats and dogs are not allowed to be eaten in most countries (not sure if "most countries" is correct) because we've collectively decided that they should not be eaten, but I just don't think any meat eater should be too upset if someone, somewhere, eats a cat.
posted by bondcliff at 7:28 AM on March 9, 2010


Eat the dumb!

(my cat is pretty dumb)
posted by orme at 7:30 AM on March 9, 2010


Cat Casserole was a great bandleader and invented the moonwalk 50 years before Michael Jackson.
posted by Kirk Grim at 7:36 AM on March 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


Caturday is cancelled.
posted by brand-gnu at 7:39 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your favorite food taboo sucks.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:41 AM on March 9, 2010


Carnivore: eat pussy
Vegetarian: eat bush

Simple, really.
posted by chavenet at 7:46 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


My wife prefers turkey bacon to pig bacon. And we switched from ground beef to ground turkey because we were nervous about mad cow (and stayed because we prefer it). So basically all we eat is turkey. And turkeys are dumb.

This weekend, my wife and I were at this recreated colonial farm in Virginia, the kind of place where they have people in period costumes to talk about life in colonial times and a little patch where they grow some period appropriate crops, that sort of thing. They also had some chickens and turkeys, which pretty much had run of the place.

So, my wife and I are standing looking at something when these three turkeys start walking toward us. We stand our ground for a little while, but they keep coming, so we back up a little bit. They keep coming. These turkeys are absolutely fearless. It doesn't seem likely that we're going to be brutally attack by these turkeys, but they're pretty big and we're outnumbered. Eventually, they get about a foot away from us and, instead of backing up, we step to the side, trying to get out of their way. At this point, the biggest turkey turns to follow us, and my wife screams "AHH! They know about sideways!"

Apparently, my wife, believing turkeys to be dumber than they are, expected the birds to be unable to follow us if we moved sideways. The lesson is this: Turkeys are probably pretty dumb, but they're not THAT dumb.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:49 AM on March 9, 2010 [47 favorites]


I mean, if you use pure logic, there are few good reasons we shouldn't be eating human flesh either.

Well, other than all the diseases you can get from eating people.

We tend to draw lines one service and companion animals, but everyone draws that line to their own satisfaction. I don't eat red meat, but I am not militant about it. When served a pork dinner by friends that don't know better, I'm eating pork (this seldom happens). When a dinner gives me the wrong order or their is bacon in my green beans I tend to eat it. But again, rare. I've gone years between any of these.

Fish or fowl. For me it's the size of the brain.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:49 AM on March 9, 2010


I have some friends who keep chickens, for instance. They've named each and every one of those pullets, and they gush about which chicken did X cute thing the other day. Once the animals stop laying eggs, though, these same people go out into the back yard, guillotine the little fuckers, and sup on the freshest roast chicken you've ever tasted.

Most of the people I've known who kept livestock for butchering didn't name them. Seems a bit cold to brain Fuzzles the Bunny when you're ready to make stew. A ranch hand once told me that some of the old time cowboys didn't name their horses because "you don't name something you might have to eat".

On a related note, I've got a friend who's eaten puppy stew. Reportedly a little on the greasy side, but still pretty good.
posted by BigSky at 7:53 AM on March 9, 2010


Metafilter doesn't actually seem that angry about it.

My apologies. I conflated metafilter with cat people again.
posted by The White Hat at 7:53 AM on March 9, 2010


The closest I ever came to not getting married was when my fiancée found out that I ate, and enjoyed, horse on a regular basis. She's also no-go on rabbit and lamb. I cannot possibly imagine what would happen if I proposed eating a cat, even as a joke, but I suspect it would be ugly.
posted by Shepherd at 7:54 AM on March 9, 2010


"Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow cat ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!"
posted by blue_beetle at 7:58 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Any farmer-mefites care to chime in?

I'm not a farmer, but I grew up on a farm, and I come from a long line of farmers. Several of my great-grandfathers and great-great-grandfathers were farmers. My grandfather was a farmer. My father was a farmer. My oldest brother is a farmer.

Farm people have a very utilitarian, unsentimental attitude towards animals. We feel responsible for taking proper care of animals while they are alive, but the decision to end an animal's life is made on strictly practical terms. On a farm, even the dog and the cats are working animals.

When I was a little girl I used to like going down to the barn during lambing season to help feed the lambs. There is also one or two that need to be bottle fed because the mother died or had no milk or had twins and couldn't feed both. My dad and I would go down the hill to the barn very early in the morning and I would feed one or two of the lambs by bottle. The lambs were so cute and cuddly and would snuggle up to me as it fed. As it grew it would follow me around whenever I visited the barn because it thought I was its mother. One year I made a special pet out of black lamb, which I called Coal. One day I went down to the barn and Coal was not there — none of the flock were, for that matter. I asked my father, "Daddy, where is Coal?" My father got a big sardonic grin on his face and said, "Where do you think Coal is?"

I wasn't even upset, though some of the pet-related sitcom kid character angst made me feel as though I should be. I don't tell this story in a gasping, traumatized, Clarice Starling-style way.

I live in the city now and have a pet cat. I feel responsible for Trilby, for making sure his physical needs are met, including attention and kindness, and I certainly don't ever look at him and think, "Hey! I'd like me some cat fritters!", but I don't love him and there's just no way I'd spend a small fortune on vet's bills the way some people do when their pet becomes ill. If Trilby has anything seriously wrong with him that will cost more than a few hundred to fix, I'll put him down and get another pet.

So the brou-ha-ha over a cat casserole seems silly to me. It's just as reasonable for someone to eat a cat as it is for them to eat a cow or a pig or a frog or a swan, for that matter. Humans don't eat each because cannibalism is against the laws of nature. Animals don't eat their own species either, unless they're physically and/or psychologically ill, and it causes health problems when they do.
posted by orange swan at 7:59 AM on March 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


So basically all we eat is turkey. And turkeys are dumb.

Farm-raised, yes; they've been bred to be so. Wild turkeys, def. not so much.
posted by ifjuly at 8:23 AM on March 9, 2010


vacapinta: "Nobody here is angry about it. There are just some people slyly accusing others of being hypocrites because they consume one life-form and not another, as if they don't do the same thing themselves."

There was no slyness in my comment. I was responding to the situation described in the article: a man lost his job over sharing a recipe. I do happen to think that eating one kind of non human animal and being OK with it and then firing someone for sharing a recipe for another is hypocritical. Personally I am not a vegetarian, but I was from infancy until the age of 30. I made the considered decision to start eating meat. I am fine with gray areas, and yeah I will eat some meat and not others, but I don't go so far as to be scandalized by other people's food choices. Even when it comes to cannibalism it isn't the eating part so much as the slaughter part the bothers me, and I would probably try it given an ethically unquestionable opportunity.
posted by idiopath at 8:32 AM on March 9, 2010


I thought we don't eat cats cause their meat tastes terrible, there isn't a lot of it, and they're prone to parasites?

The last two things are both true of rabbits and rabbits taste yummy. I've no idea how cats taste, but the Chinese seem to find them palatable.

But even if cats don't taste good, a nice Persian catfur coat would look kind of spiffy.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:36 AM on March 9, 2010


it's quite simple folks

if cats were 10 times bigger than us, what would THEY do?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:36 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


“From 1980 to 1983, I worked in the kitchen of a small restaurant near Catskill, New York, on a patch of the Hudson River Valley so remote it didn’t have an address. The sixty-seat restaurant was owned by René and Paulette Macary (she remains its proprietor today). La Rive, named thus because it sat on a wide running creek, was a fruitful training ground, and New York State had extraordinary livestock. Beautiful veal came down from Utica. I found a man who raised spectacular pigeons. I began to ask these farmers for unusual items to experiment with, things like pigs’ ears, cockscombs, duck testicles.

One day, I asked my rabbit purveyor to show me how to kill, skin, and eviscerate a rabbit. I had never done this, and I figured if I was going to cook rabbit, I should know it from its live state through the slaughtering, skinning and butchering, and then the cooking. The guy showed up with twelve live rabbits. He hit one over the head with a club, knocked it out, slit its throat, pinned it to a board, skinned it - the whole bit. Then he left.

I don’t know what else I expected, but there I was out in the grass behind the restaurant, just me and eleven cute bunnies, all of which were on the menu that week and had to find their way into a braising pan. I clutched at the first rabbit. I had a hard time killing it. It screamed. Rabbits scream and this one screamed loudly. Then it broke its leg trying to get away. It was terrible.

The next ten rabbits didn’t scream and I was quick with the kill, but that first screaming rabbit not only gave me a lesson in butchering, it also taught me about waste. Because killing those rabbits had been such an awful experience, I would not squander them. I would use all my powers as chef to ensure that those rabbits were beautiful. It’s very easy to go to a grocery store and buy meat, then accidentally overcook it and throw it away. A cook sautéing a rabbit loin, working the line on a Saturday night, a million pans going, plates going out the door, who took that loin a little too far, doesn’t hesitate, just dumps it in the garbage and fires another. Would that cook, I wonder, have let his attention stray from that loin had he killed the rabbit himself? No. Should a cook squander anything ever?

It was a simple lesson.”

- Thomas Keller, from the French Laundry Cookbook
(taken from here)
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:48 AM on March 9, 2010 [17 favorites]


it's quite simple folks

if cats were 10 times bigger than us, what would THEY do?


Nothing - - because we would have driven them to extinction.
posted by fairmettle at 8:52 AM on March 9, 2010


it's quite simple folks

if cats were 10 times bigger than us, what would THEY do?


Bat us around for a while until we're bruised and bloodied, and then bring our twitching, barely alive bodies as a gift to their Lovecraftian masters?
posted by the other side at 9:08 AM on March 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


@the other side

Bat us around for a while until we're bruised and bloodied, and then bring our twitching, barely alive bodies as a gift to their Lovecraftian masters?


But what if the cats were ten times larger than THEM?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:10 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


the Chinese seem to find them palatable

That's not saying much; the Chinese seem to find a lot of things palatable.
posted by wcfields at 9:10 AM on March 9, 2010


Something definitely got lost in translation when this guy read about the rising popularity of eating pussy.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:15 AM on March 9, 2010


And I really don't want to know what happens culinary-wise when he finds out some people like licking ass.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:16 AM on March 9, 2010


Any farmer-mefites care to chime in?

My god father grew up on a (Serbian) farm, and his experience/attitude is the opposite of orange swan's. He was horrified when he found out that his pets were ending up in his belly & refused to ever tend to the livestock again. He grew up to be a cat & dog person, and will pay any amount in vets bills to keep his pets healthy (that's what pet insurance is for!), and when they do die he (and my god mom) tend to wait a while before getting a new pet, since it takes a while for him to get over the loss.

He's still a livestock eater, but buys from a local free range farm. If it's not free range, it doesn't end up in his kitchen. I'm confident that if he knew you'd eaten a cat, feral or otherwise, he'd think you were scum and my god mom would have to spend a lot of energy convincing him not to pop you one, lol.

So basically all we eat is turkey. And turkeys are dumb.

In my experience turkeys are not just dumb, but also vicious. Same with swans for that matter! A lot of the bigger birds are pretty mean. Beware the geese down by Toronto harbourfront, they'll roll you for your ice cream!
posted by zarah at 9:17 AM on March 9, 2010


I wish I had seen this link to Swiss puppy eaters before I posted. oh well
posted by atomicmedia at 9:28 AM on March 9, 2010


Humans don't eat each because cannibalism is against the laws of nature. Animals don't eat their own species either, unless they're physically and/or psychologically ill, and it causes health problems when they do.

This isn't exactly true. There are many examples of...maybe not quite standard but far from "ill" or naturally unsound practices of cannibalism in the animal kingdom. Many insects and sea life come to mind. And of course primates are known to do it.
posted by ifjuly at 9:32 AM on March 9, 2010


a link to Weird Meat
posted by atomicmedia at 9:34 AM on March 9, 2010


THIS IS THE RULE

We should only eat mammals for which we have two names: one for when it is a pet, and one for when it is meat. Examples:

cow - beef
lamb - mutton
pig - pork
calf - veal

Fish, not being mammals, are excepted.
posted by frecklefaerie at 9:42 AM on March 9, 2010


I would eat cat, but not MY cat. Though I frequently threaten to do so. "NOM NOM NOM Imma eat your earsies NOM NOM NOM!"

I bet if I fell over dead and no one was around to fill his kibble bowl, my cat would eat me, and who'd blame him?

Also, rabbit is delicious, require very little space, breed like, um, cliches, and we should eat more of them.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:52 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because we don't eat things we make emotional attachments to?

Let's break up!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:57 AM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


> So basically all we eat is turkey. And turkeys are dumb.

You're doing it wrong, man. Let the dumb animals live and eat the smart ones before they try to take control.
posted by ardgedee at 9:59 AM on March 9, 2010


I just want to point out that all of these arguments against eating cats or dogs or whatever are purely a product of privilege. Or, to quote an earlier version of the field manual, "If it's a mammal, you can eat it."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:00 AM on March 9, 2010


Andrew Zimmern reports on the controversy at the end of this blog entry: Cat (The Next White Meat)
posted by la_scribbler at 10:01 AM on March 9, 2010


I think the Italian term for cat-eater is probably mangiagatti

everyplace i looked it was "magnagati" or "vicentini magnagati"
posted by atomicmedia at 7:09 AM on March 9 [+] [!]


No, magnagati is right in the Roman Veneto dialect. (FTFY.)
posted by progosk at 10:05 AM on March 9, 2010


There are no cats in Solvay NY
posted by maurice at 10:07 AM on March 9, 2010


Farm people have a very utilitarian, unsentimental attitude towards animals.

Which is related to what I said. I just want to mention that just because farmers do an important job and are rightly respected and just because this is their traditional attitude towards animals, doesn't make it the right one. (Or the wrong one.)

It would be easy (and I'm not saying you are doing this) to fall into this fallacy: "Well, if you lived on a FARM then you'd be TOTALLY USED TO chopping up cats for lunch, so it must be morally OK." The populism of the first half would mask the non-sequitor.
posted by DU at 10:18 AM on March 9, 2010


Don't kid yourself Jimmy. If a cat ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:42 AM on March 9, 2010


Crap. Apparently search works better if you can spell. Duly noted.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:45 AM on March 9, 2010


On a related note, I've got a friend who's eaten puppy stew. Reportedly a little on the greasy side, but still pretty good.

<NOT CHINESE-IST>
The Cantonese have a saying the gist of which is "old cat, young dog" meaning that old cats make for better eating than kittens and puppies make for better eating that old dogs. So it strikes me that if you're going to eat one or the other, it's more humane to eat cats that have led a full life etc. Not that I'd personally eat something feral and probably disease ridden.
</NOT CHINESE-IST>

And you can bet a cat would eat you if you died. In fact most of the time when they're being cute and snuggling up to you, they're probably just checking to see if you're still alive.
posted by juv3nal at 10:54 AM on March 9, 2010


"I live in the city now and have a pet cat. I feel responsible for Trilby, for making sure his physical needs are met, including attention and kindness, and I certainly don't ever look at him and think, "Hey! I'd like me some cat fritters!", but I don't love him and there's just no way I'd spend a small fortune on vet's bills the way some people do when their pet becomes ill. If Trilby has anything seriously wrong with him that will cost more than a few hundred to fix, I'll put him down and get another pet."

Could I just ask, orangeswan, and I'm truly not trying to be snarky, just curious - why do you have a pet?
posted by HopperFan at 11:04 AM on March 9, 2010


why don't we eat animals that humans often keep as pets? we only eat animals that aren't cute! bunnies are cute too, save the bunnies! meat is meat, save the cows or eat the cats! eat the dogs too! etc.

Some of you are not familiar with the concept of taboo, are you? Or are you just being purposefully obtuse? Human beings have kept domesticated cats in symbiotic relationships for nearly 10,000 years. You need further explanation why it's considered taboo to eat them?
posted by nathancaswell at 11:15 AM on March 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, rabbit is delicious, require very little space, breed like, um, cliches, and we should eat more of them.

And rabbit was on the front page of the New York Times Dining section this past week as the latest culinary trend (oh my), so there's that.
posted by blucevalo at 11:21 AM on March 9, 2010


I love my cats. And I am sure they love me. But right now, they would probably eat me out of spite, to thank me for bringing a baby home to live with them.

Eating cats though? We don't typically eat companion animals. And by "companion animals" I mean in historical terms "those animals that provided services for us". Dogs hunt. Cats keep rodents out of our food. We don't eat them. Dogs help us catch our own food, and keep predators away from our livestock. Cats feed themselves while preserving our grain.

Cows we use for meat and milk. Horses for work, some cultures for milk and meat as well. Same for goats and sheep. None of these animals are any good at hunting, or at helping us protect ourselves or or food.

Sure, the aversion to cat or dog meat is cultural, but it's also sensible if you live like humans used to live. These days, the non-edible status of cats and dogs is primarily due to history rather than current usefulness, but dogs still help protect the home and cats still kill and eat rodents. Whether you think this is enough to keep them off your plate is your business I suppose. Just don't eat my cats. I like the little bastards.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:24 AM on March 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


For companionship, HopperFan, and also because I just couldn't take the mice situation in my house anymore.
posted by orange swan at 11:25 AM on March 9, 2010


lamb - mutton

BUT MUTTON DOES NOT COME FROM LAMBS

Some of you are not familiar with the concept of taboo, are you?

Taboos are not universal. One of my Korean language professors, for example loves dog meat. She told us she thinks it's delicious. She also has a pet dog.

Then there are the animals that almost no one thinks of as pets, and are perfectly nutritious, but are still not eaten in some places.

So yes, a further explanation of why it's considered taboo to eat some animals but not others is needed.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:26 AM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I come from a long line of farmers on my mother's side, though none of my generation farms. My great-uncle still has his farm, and when I visited he showed us his cows and so forth and was very affectionate towards them, and then we went back to the house and had steak, and he said stuff like, "This one was Missy. She had the sweetest disposition..." and then he'd tell long involved anecdotes about the cow we were eating. (He might have done that just to freak out the city kids, but the steaks were labelled according to the cow they came from.)

We have pet rabbits who I love. I wouldn't eat them (unless it was the last step before cannibalism) but I like wild rabbit and have only stopped eating it out of respect for my husband's delicate sensibilities.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:26 AM on March 9, 2010


Chef Beppe Bigazzi and his producers don't seem to know their target audience very well...rhetorical FAIL
posted by la_scribbler at 11:28 AM on March 9, 2010


Who knew there were historical pictures of Cat's-Meat Men?
posted by benzenedream at 11:34 AM on March 9, 2010


I'd never eat a cat because every one that I've met appears to be infected with mad cat disease.

That and because a full half of their diet is made up of their own hair and stinky cat butts.
posted by orme at 12:16 PM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would be willing to eat cat-shaped cookies. I would eat the shit out of those.
posted by everichon at 12:42 PM on March 9, 2010


There was a scene in the novel (ersatz autobiography) Papillon where there were two guys dining and the host's cook had cooked a cat and said it was a rabbit. They were eating and the guest said "this cat is great". The host said "no, this is rabbit."
Guest said "no; look at the way this rib curves here. Definitely a cat. Delicious."

I have never knowingly eaten cat meat and I have no idea if that is remotely plausible. Any cat eaters want to chime in?

Bunny rabbit is very tasty. As is lamb. And veal.
posted by bukvich at 1:07 PM on March 9, 2010


Taboos are not universal. One of my Korean language professors, for example loves dog meat. She told us she thinks it's delicious. She also has a pet dog.

And she also lives in a culture which developed around rice-paddy farming, not herding. It's pretty obvious why wild dogs might have become "food animals" in the first case, and "work animals" in the second.
posted by vorfeed at 1:14 PM on March 9, 2010


I mean, if you use pure logic, there are few good reasons we shouldn't be eating human flesh either

This particular taboo exists because eating each other is a fantastic way to spread disease. Just ask the Fore tribe. That seems pretty logical to me. The risks of contracting a disease by eating your cat are far, far lower.


Humans don't eat each because cannibalism is against the laws of nature.

That's just completely wrong. There are many species who will happily eat each other. Some even eat their own offspring if times get tough.
posted by chrisamiller at 1:23 PM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


My great-uncle still has his farm, and when I visited he showed us his cows and so forth and was very affectionate towards them, and then we went back to the house and had steak, and he said stuff like, "This one was Missy. She had the sweetest disposition..."

My friend doesn't label the meat to identify the animal, but I think that's only because he doesn't do the butchering himself yet. I've had many meals with him where he would wonder aloud, deadpan, if it were Petunia or Hogsworth that we were eating. He wasn't melancholy, but he wasn't joking around either. Just an honest question.
posted by rollbiz at 1:23 PM on March 9, 2010


cannibalism is against the laws of nature

I think you're conflating cannibalism with such practices as reneging on bets or living in caravans, both of which are in violation of the laws of nature.
posted by everichon at 1:46 PM on March 9, 2010


My brother in law had a dairy farm in central Wisconsin some time ago, and raised a couple of pigs for meat on the side. The pigs were named Porkchop and Wiener. His philosophy was, be realistic and name something you'll eventually eat by what it will eventually look like when it ends up on your plate.
posted by LN at 2:08 PM on March 9, 2010


Whether you think this is enough to keep them off your plate is your business I suppose.

I mainly keep them off my plate because cats should learn I don't share my food and my newspaper until I've finished.

There was a scene in the novel (ersatz autobiography) Papillon where there were two guys dining and the host's cook had cooked a cat and said it was a rabbit. They were eating and the guest said "this cat is great". The host said "no, this is rabbit."
Guest said "no; look at the way this rib curves here. Definitely a cat. Delicious."

I have never knowingly eaten cat meat and I have no idea if that is remotely plausible. Any cat eaters want to chime in?

It's not very nice to quote the book and then doubt the writer. It's all true.
posted by ersatz at 2:46 PM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everything I needed to know I learned from Venture Brothers:
HENCHMAN 21
Do we have souls?

HENCHMAN 24
Yeah. Well, not quite souls but, eh, that's the general idea. Everything has a soul.

HENCHMAN 21
Crap. So I guess I should become a vegetarian?

HENCHMAN 24
No, like everything living has a soul. Even spinach. You can't win.

HENCHMAN 21
Oh, so that's... a problem.

HENCHMAN 24
Here's something. You know how people cry about aborting babies because of their 'soul'? It turns out you don't get a soul until you're like one.

HENCHMAN 21
So weird, one? Really?

HENCHMAN 24
Or maybe six months, I forget. Either way you're just this little crying, pooing monster blob 'til you get your soul.
Moral: Eat cat, eat plant, all the same.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:11 PM on March 9, 2010


I guess I must be the only mefite who's actually eaten cat meat. Where i'm from it's a delicacy. It does really taste like chicken, albeit rather oily. I've eaten it several times - the first time it was a mystery meat type of deal where i wasnt told what it was till after i was done. That shit was good, marinaded with scotch bonnets and peanut powder and grilled. I've subsequently had it in stews and soup, knowing full well it was kitty meat. Funnily enough, at one time i did own 2 cats, and no, i never entertained the thought of throwing said kitties on the barbie!
posted by ramix at 3:17 PM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


And she also lives in a culture which developed around rice-paddy farming, not herding. It's pretty obvious why wild dogs might have become "food animals" in the first case, and "work animals" in the second.

And that doesn't take into account that it's not taboo to eat all work animals.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:56 PM on March 9, 2010


I guess today is not a fluke for food news!
posted by atomicmedia at 4:00 PM on March 9, 2010


I'm not so much down on eating cute fwuffy widdle pals as with eating apex predators. They usually taste like crap and may have concentrated toxins.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:01 PM on March 9, 2010


if you use pure logic, there are few good reasons we shouldn't be eating human flesh either.
Kuru?

a further explanation of why it's considered taboo to eat some animals but not others is needed.

Leviticus forbids eating animals with paws, so there's that. Many of Leviticus' food taboos are related to potential for sickness (shellfish, pork), but while a lot of Westerners have overcome those prohibitions, we still generally don't like to eat our friends.

Personally, as a cat owner and lover, I wouldn't hesitate to eat cat. I've also noticed that cat fur is quite luxurious. Given that millions of cats are exterminated every year, we might as well make some use of their remains.
posted by coolguymichael at 5:13 PM on March 9, 2010


And that doesn't take into account that it's not taboo to eat all work animals.

Sure it does. I didn't suggest that humans never eat work animals. Regardless, taboos against eating work animals are common.

There's a huge difference between "taboos aren't universal" and "there are no social or environmental pressures which contribute to taboos". I'm with you on the former, but I think the latter is a bit much; local variation certainly explains the many "exceptions to the rule", but is not enough by itself to explain away the widespread formation of similar taboos.
posted by vorfeed at 8:01 PM on March 9, 2010


I have never knowingly eaten cat meat and I have no idea if that is remotely plausible. Any cat eaters want to chime in?

I haven't eaten cat, but always thought these sorts of rules about which animals can be eaten and which can't were silly. That is, until I saw a freshly skinned rabbit waiting for the stew pot. I felt no reaction to the fact that an hour ago it had been a fluffy little bunny, but I was horrified to find that a skinned rabbit looks remarkably similar to a cat. That was the day I decided there would be no catserole in my future.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:37 AM on March 10, 2010


Work animals? Like horses? What taboo is that, exactly? Some new-fangled nonsense? Horse is commonly eaten in Europe, and used to be common in the USA. If you don't call a horse a "work animal", then the term is senseless.

Cat never seemed interesting as food. They really aren't very meaty. I'd try it, if offered. I'd also turn down dolphin or whale. I wouldn't touch monkey, and I'm not sure if it's because they are cute or because they are disgusting. (when monkeys come in to your kitchen to steel food, you get an attitude). Other than that, off hand, I don't think I'm squicked by meat of any kind (except insects).
posted by Goofyy at 11:08 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would eat cat, but I'm allergic.

I love everyone's farm stories. Can we have a page of just everyone's farm stories?
posted by device55 at 7:38 AM on March 11, 2010


« Older Your favourite comic sucks. "The problem is basica...  |  The judge-umpire analogy has a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments