Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.
My food thoughts this weekend have been coloured by a passage I read in 100 Days on Holy Island: A Writer’s Exile by Peter Mortimer. He spent some time out at sea in a lobster boat catching not just lobsters but velvet crabs and large brown crabs. They’re brought to shore alive, because as Peter writes;
For some reason, humans consider it the height of culinary sophistication to boil a lobster alive in front of restaurant diners’ eyes. (page 89)
I’m not a vegetarian, although I’m edging that way. And this highlighted, yet again, for me the problem I have with being a carnivore – we have to kill a living being in order to eat it.To be confronted with it in person would be beyond me. I know the arguments for and against but having watched Jamie Oliver on one of his TV series (in Italy I think) kill a sheep I’ve only rarely bought lamb – also remembering my granddaughter’s disbelief that anyone could actually eat lamb!
I like crab but Peter Mortimer’s description of how he dealt with cooking the two crabs he was given at the end of his fishing trip also made me think hard about what I eat:
Millions of creatures and animals were slaughtered every day – humans, too. Here I was, anguishing over a brace of crabs. Except you could read of endless deaths. But needed to see only one.
Something of that morning’s experience, something of fishing’s inevitable brutality, had stayed with me, as if here I was about to square the circle, as if I were destined to perform this act of murder to resolve the day.
The two crabs interlocked their claws, as if seking safety in numbers. Their live presence filled the kitchen and though I turned my back on them it made little difference. (page 91)
He did the inevitable and cooked them, dropping them into cold water and brought them slowly to the boil as he’d read that was the most ‘humane’ way. And then he found that the smell of their boiling was nauseous and
… their clattering noise was intolerable. (page 91)