I would describe my attitude towards meat-eating as; Half Conscious
Let me Explain
Growing up under a French mothers influence and cooking, topped up by spending summers in my French/Italian's grandmothers house. Meant that my diet was slightly different from what the girls and boys ate in Old Blighty.
A pigs ear laid on the dinner table was not unusual. This would be served as a light starter, think; an apéritif that you share amongst your diners, take a slice and pass it round.
- Various Offal
- Black pudding
- White pudding
- Pig trotters and ankles
- Horse steak and mince
- Ox cheeks
- Lambs brain
- Steak tartare
What is obvious when visiting supermarkets & butchers in France is that the subject of meat is of high importance, serving as a huge cultural bow-tie; voici la France.
A butcher is a serious and respected member of the community. The art of butchering meat is almost medical. Your meat is carved and arranged perfectly for maximum enjoyment in every piece.
(Veins will be removed, meat will be hammered)
In a butchers you don't enter and point to a cut and say:
"Can I have that chop, rump, breast"
You point to the type of meat you are after and ask for it. The butcher will then cut & carve it for you. Collecting your meat is not a quick trip.
A bad butcher is a disgrace... Is there such thing?
Keep Calm & Carry On
Meat in England however is less obvious and I can imagine that a lot of meat eaters don't see much of the "animal" to "meat" process. Meat still looks meaty but it is already trimmed and prepared and looks less like flesh.
Because I eat meat and really like eating it, I don't have much right to say that I love animals and feel sad when I think about eating them. I do however, je suis très hypocritic.
I have always had a clear concept about where meat came from and as a child I had NO issue with eating ANY type of meat or how rare I was eating it etc... In my teens this all changed. The idea of eating "meaty" or odd types of meat became stomach churning. I remember feeling embarrassed about eating meat that bled or less common animal parts, I wanted to be like the other girls and eat only non animal looking stuff:
- Welldone steak
USA- Meat Sans Animal
When I was in NY meat was V unmeaty, it was often processed, prepared and often it looked dyed! Meat in supermarkets looked man-made. Not saying I didn't eat it though (and liked it).
Back to the Beginning
Getting back to my original point, where I described my attitude to meat-eating as "Half Conscious".
What I mean is my relationship with Meat is somewhere in the middle of this scale:
France -------------------------------- England ---------------USA
(Full Awareness)-----------------(Semi Awareness)----(Denial)
I know where meat comes from, I can stand in a French butchers and pick out what flesh appeals, however, there is also a looming shadow of denial that this almost isn't real?
The "French" awareness attitude is a more respectful way of eating meat. Covering up what you are eating and filling it up with additives and so forth à la Américaine shows a fearfulness and strong denial, which questions why would you eat it in the first place?
It is essential to not waste meat
Meat is such an odd part of our lives
- Horrendous and alien
And lots in-between.