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Sunday, April 18, 2010

We are what we eat and drink...

... or so some say. Hmm... got a son-in-law who decided to become a vegan after reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron Foer. "It explores the many stories we use to justify our eating habits--folklore and pop culture, family traditions and national myth, apparent facts and inherent fictions--and how such tales can lure us into a brutal forgetting."  It was, my son-in-law says, pretty impacting. I guess! Does that make him a tofu kind of guy?

How about some folks in Arizona who found it hard to tolerate a rabbit-based menu for an Easter Sunday brunch? The chef received over 100 complaints including a call from one rabbit lover wishing him "a slow and painful death." Said the chef, "To me, it's just food... (but I) underestimated the number of people who have pet rabbits." Does that make them Hugh Hefner fans?

However, the topper... from the bottom of the food chain, literally, are those who will pay $500 for a bag of coffee beans from Bote-Central in Manila. These 'magic' beans produce a smooth, chocolaty brew with a hint of cherry, devoid of any bitter aftertaste, and are said to be the excelsior of the coffee gods.

Now I love coffee, and maybe I would buy a bag if I had an extra $500, but I don't know. It's not the beans, it's the processing that bothers me. Seems what makes the coffee so wonderful is that it is eaten then digested in the stomach of the civet, a smallish cat-like animal with some otter/mongoose characteristics, and out his you-know-what. The beans, with the benefit of the civet's enzymes, produce, when separated from the feces I presume, the richest coffee imaginable. Well poor me... I'll probably never know... and it's not about the money.

One of the locals at the old coffee farm said he didn't exactly know why foreigners are willing to pay so much for a cup of the civet-digested beans plucked from feces. "We are a bit surprised," he bemused. His son, with a smile on his face, said "We are so ignorant." (Hint: Never, ever shake hands with a coffee grower who has a cage full of civets unless you see him wash his hands.)

Technical question: If I treated my son-in-law to a cup of this fantastic coffee, would he still be a vegan? (Important note: no animals were harmed in the making of this blog post... however, one teriyaki-flavored tofu cube will never be the same.)

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