We like to eat then tell you all about it!

“Oh, you don’t eat that?”

In Beliefs on 11 September 2009 at 7:19 pm
Would you eat these?

Would you eat these?

So Big Hache was telling me how those of the Jewish faith don’t eat shrimp. I had no idea. Of course, I knew about the pork. I just didn’t think about shrimp, lobster, octopus and so on. That got me to thinking about food and the beliefs people have.

Couple of years ago, I went to China, met new friends of friends and we all went out to eat. One of the places we went to served turtle soup. As the dish was set out before us, I wondered why my Thai friends weren’t eating. Turns out that according to their beliefs turtles are considered gods OR the goddess they worship forbids the eating of turtle. I don’t remember. Not until I was trying the soup did I realize it was turtle soup. Not until I was out the restaurant did I realize that my new friends did not eat turtle for religious reasons. Way to go in offending people.

I suppose the reason for this entry is that though you love your food and find it finger-licking good, there will always be people who find what you are eating as disgusting, forbidden or just of no interest. Does that stop me from eating what I like? Yes and no. As a Christian going to homes of non-Christians, I am to eat what ever they put before me. Which is fine. I am an adventurous foodie. I ate raw horse once. I am not going offend my host by being an arse in saying, “I don’t eat that”  when it was especially prepared for the occasion or is customary when a guest comes to visit. I mean, really, if I just can’t stomach it at all (like liver and onions), i am sure gonna try to at least taste it so I do not offend those I am visiting. I appreciate the effort people put out for little ol’ me. Nothing is taken for granted. And yeah, if something über tasty is put before me and I LOVES it I am going to chow down and ask politely for more!

So again, Does that stop me from eating what I like? Ummm…situations where things could quietly get ugly…yes, because why should I offend friends? Why should I smile ear to ear over some greatness on my plate when someone across the table is about to hurl? The table is a place of communication, authority, planning and even final decision making. With new acquaintances, it is a learning process like the one I listed above.

On the no side of me stopping from eating what I like, no, because I eat what I like to eat. I am cautious not to pollute my body with things that will destroy it—like Twinkies. I love organic food and purchase it and eat it as often as I possibly can. There is balance in all life including what I eat.  I limit my fast food runs and do my best to cook at home using fresh non-canned products.

No, I am gonna eat what I like because I don’t live by someone else’s food standards/convictions. I DO know how animals are slaughtered and how food ends up on my plate. It isn’t difficult to watch documentaries on such things. I do know how sugar AND CORN is the bane of all foods on common American shelves and is chucked into just about every single thing sold to us in this country.

No, I am gonna eat what I wish just because. Who is to stop me? Just because God is dealing with YOU about downing double cheeseburgers doesn’t mean I have to be lectured when next I eat a burger or steak. Don’t control me, bro!

Because some people want to control others from eating things simply because “THEY” don’t like it or have their preconceived notions about is not reason enough for me not to eat or for them to put a stink up during what is supposed to be a nice outing with people you want to be around (Forgive the run on sentence).

Greatest example known to man is sushi. “Oh, sushi is raw fish that’s why I don’t eat it.”  It isn’t all raw fish, people. I will be the first to school you on that. Also, it amazes me how folks don’t do their research on things before they speak on topics. Yes, fish has some mercury in it but have you actively looked into which fish are loaded with mercury? Did you know that shark is inundated with mercury? How many times did you eat that last year? How about in your life? Tuna and salmon. Those are fish that are low in mercury levels that wont jack up your body. Pregnant Japanese women eat sushi in all its forms ALL THE TIME yet media over here brain washing us, tells us ‘fish’ is riddled with mercury then name the common types to make you feel slightly ok but suspicious of what you are buying in the supermarket. I digress.

While living in my slice of Japan, I encountered colleagues who were vegetarians. At a dinner get together, I was able to listen to them speak on reasons why they chose not to eat meat. It is amazing what you can learn if you stop talking and just listen. For me, I did not truly understand why people didn’t eat meat. In school, there were the stupid jokes of vegetarians being hippies and blah blah blah. Trying to save gentle animals, not eating to fight cruelty and etc. This is what some meat-eaters (haters) joke about.

Anyway, as I listened, I gathered that it wasn’t because the 4-5 people speaking were animal activists. It was more of the effect meat had on their systems. One spoke of how beef made her feel horrible. Her body would get out of whack and it just wasn’t worth eating it. Others spoke about how they didn’t like the taste of it or even had allergies. I suppose at that point a light bulb went off with me.  School environment had darkened my thinking though I had not actively chose for it to do so. I didn’t fully understand why someone wouldn’t consume meat products but slowly I was beginning to AND I had great respect for those who stood their ground and took the time to explain why.

I can only speak for America and Japan as to why people find it a crazy notion that a living, breathing person won’t eat meat. “America is the land of meat and potatoes! That’s what a man eats!” In Japan, meat is a much needed protein source. Before, meat was rarely consumed. Now, it is imported as is like 80-90% of everything else.

Vegetarians find it difficult to travel in Japan because every single thing down to the broth of the soups is seasoned with meat or even fish. When in grocery stores there you will see a TON of pork products, lots of sea food and even the beef is labeled whether it was imported from Australia or the U.S. My advice to vegetarians is to research online for restaurants that are known/proven to be totally meat-free before you travel to the Land of the Rising Sun. There are websites for that. Also, if you have the opportunity to crash at a Buddhist temple or even reserve lunch there, do it! The cooks at the temples are awesome at what they do and it will be a meal you won’t ever forget.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for the day. Be open to try different foods, don’t be nasty to people about their religious food beliefs and personal convictions,  sit and learn as to why someone does feel about foods the way they do so you have a better understanding where they coming from. I mean, you’d want people to do the same with you.

Please feel free to leave a comment on this one. I am very interested in hearing about your experiences or even convictions. By the way, the pic above is grilled tuna hearts.

  1. I can’t say I know about Japan, but it’s very interesting to learn about. I enjoy cultures, as you know, and I have never thought about the dinner table quite the way you put it. Your description frames the table uniquely for me, and as a fellow writer, I love that. And I think it would ROCK to go to a temple as you described. You know me and those experiences.

  2. My mom had heard a message concerning the dinner table. From babyhood and up, we learn what is and isn’t acceptable. Authority is taught. Etiquette is taught. Maybe even the art of conversation is learned but most of all, the table is where we get nourishment and things are usually settled. Well, that is how it is supposed to be. The kids of the 90’s probably don’t even get that now. Mom hauls all the kids to soccer, then its 80MPH to a fast food joint, pick up the dry cleaning before they close and get the kids in bed or to the sitters’ before 8pm so mom can go out with her lady friends. Dad has to work late tonight. Sad. People want to know what happened to morals in America? Out the window due to the microwave, fast food and no time because family well-being didn’t come first. Nor was God invited in to any of the events.

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