Like any other thing we eat, there is the question of ‘why’? Why do we eat this particular thing? Do we eat it because we are really hungry? Or do we eat it because it just happens to be in front of us and available to eat? Or maybe simply because it happens to be the set time for a meal? These questions are the simpler ones. The more challenging questions have to do with tradition, history, culture, and power.
Power is not the least of things affecting what we eat – though in our culture that fact is not as apparent as it may be in other cultures.
In this short online documentary from National Geographic, the bush meat trade is summarized in a way that brings attention to some of the power issues circling around the eating of wild game or bushmeat such as rhinoceros in Africa. There was no mention of the lumber companies which have a hand in the story, but the players in this game – and the histories and traditions – all combine to create a not-so-small battle of ‘whose reality is the right one here’ – with very real results of the battle showing in day-to-day life in this place faraway from where we live and eat.
There is real hunger in some places. Hunger for food to stay alive. Then there are the other sorts of hungers. The complex hungers of status that play out in a number of ways.
Why would we want to eat rhinoceros? Or lion or tiger or bear? These things are not part of our cultural norms as edible things. Is the answer ‘I just want to know what it tastes like,’ a real answer – fully true and valid with no squirrelly levels of additional or alternate meaning underneath this flat-stated claim?
Perhaps in some cases it is for mere entertainment value.
We can buy wild game, including lion meat – online. Here, at this link, is a source. It is called ‘exotic meat’. Which of course has a different feel to the mind than ‘bush meat’ does. One of the satisfied customers giving testimonial on the website of this online exotic meat store was the pastor of a church in California, who states
“Anshu, The Lion Meat and the Python Meat was a hit. The guys found ways to cook it that were appealing. 500 people had a taste. Thanks for all your help.It was very nice to meet you and visit with you on the phone.” Yours, Jeff Beltz, Pastor, Hydesville Community Church
Dining upon the rhinoceros is certainly something to muse upon. We’ve come up close to the beast and have a few recipes ready if the need or urge arises.
The rhino is a homely beast,
For human eyes he’s not a feast.
Farwell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,
I’ll stare at something less prepoceros.
I think the rhino is rather cute, though Ogden Nash would disagree. Prepoceros, though – for sure.