Monday, 23 December 2013

What's In Your Christmas Dinner...?

Gluttony has long been an accepted, and eagerly encouraged, breaking of one of the seven commandments during the Christmas season. However I must confess I find the rise of the multi-bird roast somewhat obscene.

To kill four (or even more) birds rather than one to sate one's gluttony and then meld them together as some kind of Frankenbird seems a truly revolting idea, not least when most of us are so opposed to genetically modified 'frankenfoods', which are all about defying nature. In addition it involves a level of meat processing and time of raw meat hanging about at room temperature to create which is surely not to be advised.

This reminds me of the recent revelation that cheap poultry from the more downmarket supermarkets mostly originates from Brazil where it is frozen, shipped over to Britain and then pumped full of chemicals and water to give it the same volume and appearance as British-reared meat, subject to higher production standards and animal welfare legislation. It is then re-frozen, something British people are warned not to do with poultry for fear of Salmonella and other bugs. Finally it is stamped with a 'Produced in Britain' sticker to (legally) hoodwink the public as to its country of origin when actually Britain is just the country it has been processed in. This low-grade meat may score far lower marks on the taste test than meat sold in the high end supermarkets but if the consumers of the low-end supermarkets can't afford the good stuff, presumably they remain none the wiser.

Poor quality meat, aside from being bad for animal welfare, has also been shown to be bad for human health, containing more chemicals and a higher level of adrenalin and animal diseases from animals which have been cheaply fed and poorly treated in highly stressful and cramped conditions..

On the subject of the horse meat scandal earlier this year, I recently met a geneticist who told me that a deliberate decision had been made by our government not to sanction testing for any other animal genes as it was not felt that the British public could withstand any further revelations about what might be in their processed meat such as burgers.
'Dog'? I suggested. 'Cat...?'

'My lips are sealed' she replied. 'But you won't catch me eating anything I haven't obtained from my local farm shop.'

But since when did the idea of daily meat consumption become normal anyway? Within living memory for most families it would be a Sunday roast and then leftovers in the shape of sandwiches or curries for the rest of the week, with fish and chips on a Friday. Meat was a luxury item and people accepted that it was expensive and that it was supposed to be expensive as it was expensive to rear animals. Some even raised their own chickens and pigs in the back garden.

Surely it is better to eat less meat, but of a higher quality and a simple, traceable, organic, free-range provenance. Not just better for animals and consumers on every level, but for long-suffering
British farmers too.


Steve said...

The Russian-doll multi-bird roast offends me too. Greed is only part of it. The very idea seems somehow obscene and immoral. I often wonder if there is an alien predatory species out there that is cooking up multi-human roast recipes even as we speak... It would rather put a different complexion on things.

Wishing you a very Merry organic Christmas indeed.

Wisewebwoman said...

I think if our plates were analyzed as to the DNA of what was on it, we would be sick.

That multi-bird thing sickens me.


Wisewebwoman said...

I see you're a fan of the original Forsyte Saga. That's one I haul out once a year and enjoy.

In spite of the shaky sets (LOL)and the odd miscue I so enjoy the actors and the atmosphere.


Marginalia said...

Our obsession with cheap food, feed by the supermarkets. Ironies of ironies we watch more programmes about fine dining and healthy, fresh foods.

We'll happily spend £1000 on an overlarge TV and £60 a month on TV subscription, but pay top dollar for decent food. You're havin' a laugh.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Again, apologies for not replying earlier. Blogger seems to have been 'eating' my comments!

Steve, glad I am not alone in my feelings of abhorrence. I think the theme of other species eating us has been explored many times in Sci-Fi, not least by HG Wells, but who indeed knows?

WWW perhaps we should press for DNA testing of all meat. It would certainly help out the struggling organic/free range farmers who wouldn't dream of adulterating their food and reduce excessive meat consumption which would benefit cancer rates, among other statistics.

Ironic indeed Marginalia. People have an expectation now that food should be cheap and they can skimp on quality with no ill effects.