Nose to Tail
One of the oldest food trends being rebranded as one of the “latest” food trends is eating nose to tail – a way of eating that utilizes every part of the animal in an effort to limit wastage and respect each part of the protein.
Fergus Henderson, author of The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating says, “If you’re going to kill the animal it seems only polite to use the whole thing” (Henderson in Lipkowitz: 204). But is it polite? Or is exhaustive consumption just another paradox of the burgeoning foodie movement?
Perhaps this is yet another example of the uniquely “foodie”’ way of rebranding the same, old, unsustainable habits with a thin cover of moral high ground. After all, the beast still had to die. And, let’s face it, at factory farms across the world, companies are using the WHOLE animal – but, that’s not something a real foodie would partake in. When confronted with images of unidentifiable pig parts irrefutably destined for the meat grinder, foodies turn up their noses. A similar reaction was evoked when this year’s horse meat scandal erupted, flooding the market in uproar and disgust. While eating “unusual” or non-traditional proteins is oft celebrated in the foodie movement, under the “right” conditions or with the “right” endorsements from the “right” chefs, a package of FirstPrice lasagna made from fine Romanian horsemeat incites outrage. But, then again, foodies don’t eat FirstPrice.
So, what gives? Does partaking in the butchering of a beast bring one closer to the animal? Or, is it another avenue that allows one to exert anthropocentric superiority over another being? Maybe it’s another facet of knowing where one’s food comes from; after all, it doesn’t get much more local than the large intestine. Or perhaps it’s about being seen as an adventurous eater? Maybe it’s about alleviating some of the guilt infused in the slaughter? Marinating pork with good conscience just makes it taste that much better.
Rest assured, next time you find yourself eating prepackaged hot dogs from the supermarket, you are in fact, eating nose to tail – and just think, you didn’t even have to butcher your own pig to do it!
Photo from Wikimedia commons.
Lipkowitz, I. (2011). Words to Eat By: Five Foods and the Culinary History of the English Language. New York: St. Martin's Press.