So this one time on Food Revolution Jamie Oliver tried to convince a group of kids that chicken nuggets were too disgusting to eat by showing them how nuggets are made from the skin, cartilage, internal organs and other worthless chicken leftovers. Unfortunately for him, the experiment backfired.
While his object was probably just to get the kids to reconsider their consumption of additives and fillers, they just didn’t really care. This made me think, is it really so bad that meat industries try to trick us into eating all the extra bits? Would we rather they just went to waste?
It reminded me of one time in Niger when my roommate and I were invited to a friends house for Ramadan. Usually when we went over for dinner we had rice with a veggie sauce, but this time we had a special treat because Ramadan meant everyone had meat.
It really didn’t occur to me that all of what we as North American would consider “meat” was still cooking over the fire as I took my big bite of meat sauce. I’m ashamed to admit that it took a few gulps of water to wash down that bite of … some sort of very rubbery internal organ. Later that night I also got to sample some intestines, spiced and made into a sort of jerky. I wasn’t a fan of the organ sauce, but the intestine jerky really wasn’t bad.
So in a world where a considerable amount of our food resources are funneled back into meat production and even more is thrown away why are we still picking out the “icky bits” when our ancestors, and friends around the globe, still have no problem using the whole chicken… or cow… or goat…
Then again, maybe it’s not so much what we are eating, but how we are eating it. Because I’m pretty sure none of my friends in Niger were adding ammonia to the sauce.
Maybe the problem is more in the way we have become detached from the process of getting our food. Maybe the disconnect between the process of growing/slaughtering our food and eating it has allowed us to become picky about the things that don’t matter, like the shape of our food, all the while not caring about the things that do matter, like what’s in it.
As Jamie loves to point out in his show, youth are particularly ignorant when it comes to real food, you know, the kind that grows in the ground. Then again it’s hard to blame them when some school cafeterias count pizza as their vegetable serving.
So what do you think? Is it possible to reduce our waste, cycling byproducts back into products, without poisoning ourselves with chemicals along the way?