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Respectful Omnivorism

May 05, 2010 04:55PM ● By Anonymous

I've been wrestling with the Omnivore's Dilemma in my mind quite a bit lately, so it's nice to see a chef at least acknowledge that he isn't working with industrial widgets, even if some of the meat-producing factories that make such foods available don't show that same respect. And as Laura Vozella (the Sun's blogger) notes, a chef's taking greater care to respect the life that was given for the plate he's preparing can only mean good things for his patrons. In fact, it's a cliche at the Top Chef judging table to say that someone did or didn't "respect the protein," though in that case, Tom Colicchio et al aren't discussing the humane treatment of animals, but the expert execution of a dish's central component.

Yet, another part of me can't help but giggle at the thought of showing respect and admiration for something that's already been killed, possibly in an incredibly inhumane way. Let me tell you, if cannibalism suddenly gets trendy and I'm not one of the lucky survivors, I'm wholly indifferent to whether I'm deep fried or prepared sous-vide. 

I'm reminded of my favorite scene in the seminal film My Cousin Vinny. Joe Pesci, looking to impress his rival attorney during a hunting expedition, asks Marisa Tomei what she thinks of his pants. An irate Tomei responds (thank you, IMDB):

'Imagine you're a deer. You're prancing along. You get thirsty. You spot a little brook. You put your little deer lips down to the cool, clear water-- BAM. A F**** bullet rips off part of your head. Your brains are lying on the ground in little bloody pieces. Now I ask ya, would you give a f*** what kind of pants the son-of-a-b*** who shot you was wearing?

But maybe that's not fair. What say you? Do we have an obligation to be respectful of the animals we eat? Is this all a bunch of liberal phooey? Did I just get far to serious for a blog that's still in its infancy and has yet to generate many comments? Let's hear it.