A lady came into the store in which I work the other day and bought a flying pig lawn decoration. As she brought it to the counter, I remarked on how it was a very popular item. She then proceeded to tell me it was a “ham bird”, and that it was for her daughter. Her daughter, you see, once said she had become a vegetarian, and didn’t eat meat, only poultry. Apparently she was eating a ham sandwich when she said this.
She thought ham came from birds. Poultry is, of course, still meat.
Okay, so maybe I think this girl might be a little out of touch. After all, even most of my generation knew the basics of where food came from, and we were as dumb as a box of rocks as far as our elders were concerned. I can’t really be too hard on her, though. As far as where food comes from, we’ve all been steadily losing sight of just where things come from and what they are made from. Not only do so few of us even need to think about it anymore, but most of the time, the people providing it for us would rather we didn’t know what was going on. How much of your produce is from other countries? What sort of weird non-food things go into your favorite foods? How about this classic: how many rat turds and bug legs are in a Hershey’s chocolate bar?
Yeah, that was a favorite discussion when I was a kid. You know what? We all still ate them too.
Of course, this ignorance, and subsequent bliss, is nothing new. After all, we’ve been trying to hide the fact we’re eating dead animals with fancy food euphemisms like “ham” and “beef” for a long, long time. I guess it just makes the steak (note, it is not called charred-mammal flesh) tastier when we’re not thinking about the once-living animal it came from. I’m certian this is true when it comes to things like sweetbreads, or Rocky Mountain oysters.