I was standing in line at my favorite go-to market the other day & the fellow in front of me incredulously asked if I was “really going to eat” that (lovely) bucheron cheese I’d just placed on the checkout counter. Slightly (but really, not too) embarrassed, I responded that I can’t control myself when it comes to cheese, high fat content & all. Truthfully, I can’t recall ever having met a cheese that I didn’t immediately befriend. Turns out he wasn’t concerned at all about the fat; he was repelled by its goat nature.
That same day during lunchtime, grandson Dante, happily gobbling his tofu, kiwi, tortilla chips, & chicken breast chunks, turns to me & sweetly asks, “May I please have some chicken bark, grandma?” After I manage to stop laughing (& texting his mom about it, & realizing that I much prefer this term to ‘skin’), we talk about bark & skin & how really, they serve the same purpose of protecting other parts of the living being, & no, I didn’t have any chicken bark for him today (not entirely true, I’d eaten some myself when he wasn’t looking) but we agreed that it’s an especially yummy aspect of eating chicken.
Human primates (well most of us anyway) love animal fat (…memories of delectable pork fat dishes at The Pig’s Inn, Bishan, China…also see “What is it about meat?”). Easy access to animal food and carbohydrates were key aspects of our transition from a nomadic gatherer-hunter life to our (generally-speaking) current human lifestyle of living in established communities. This transition happened only 10,000 years ago, when our ancestors in the Middle East started domesticating wild grains and herding animals such as goats, sheep, & cattle, & eventually pigs and chickens (originally domesticated in Asia; there’s now evidence that domestication of cattle happened independently in Africa as well). The rest is history (as they say).
The jury seems to be out about whether animal fat is good or bad for us. Settling down changed so much about our human lives – how we eat, how we work, how much we move around, how we organize ourselves into communities & city-states, nations, etc.; &, it’s what kick-started the human population explosion that’s still accelerating today. There’s also no doubt that living together with animals affected our evolution into the human primate of 2012 – food-wise, body-fat-wise, & with respect to all those little virus & bacterial creatures with whom we share our bodies.
As is already obvious, I appreciate the contribution that our fellow animals & birds (& fish) make to our human mealtime. I thank goats & pigs & chickens & cows & sheep & fish for the gifts of food we humans appropriate from them. Yes, I agree, all in moderation. (&, I really do love kale.)