Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps


June 22, 2008 Bunny bite

“Just vegetables. Do you understand? Just vegetables. Carrots, potatoes…” I thought she meant that this was an entirely vegetarian tajin, and I was touched. Then, as we ate, we uncovered the meat at the center of the dish. (For the record, every tagine I’ve had has had the meat buried in the middle of the dish. That’s just the way tagine is prepared.) It was a very dark meat, and I asked, as I often do, what animal it came from. Tiwulut. About that time, I saw the skull. I don’t know how much meat there is on a bunny skull, but it wasn’t wasted. Turns out you can eat floppy bunny ears, too. Not me. I really don’t think I could eat a floppy bunny ear, and I’ll never be asked to, lhumdullah.* (And that’s what Ama had meant by saying “Just vegetables” – she didn’t want me to have any meat or broth from the meat.) But my little cousin did. First, she held it up to the side of her head and waved it at me. That was my clue as to what it was. I checked with my auntie, and sure enough, the translucent, crinkly bite that cuz was putting in her mouth was amzogh. Ear. My little brother got the skull, and he carefully prized it apart to make sure he’d eaten all the meat out of it. Looking at the dentition of the skull, I found myself lost in vertebrate paleontology memories. A surprisingly large part of the mammal fossil record is rodents, and most of the jawbones look pretty much exactly like…lunch.

I’m impressed with their refusal to waste food. I keep reminding myself of that. I’m very impressed that no part of the killed animal – no source of protein – is wasted.

* I’ve almost never gotten pressure to eat meat from this family, for which I’m grateful. I did try one bite of the tiwulut on Wednesday evening, though, mostly out of curiosity. As far as I know, I’ve never eaten a rodent before, rabbit or any other kind. Also, this represented a loophole in my personal rationale of vegetarianism (which boils down to: Don’t use resources to feed animals that could be used to feed humans). Since it was a wild animal, it wasn’t fed grain or corn (unless it stole it, Peter Rabbit style!), it wasn’t watered, and its waste materials weren’t filtered into the public water source. So…no reason not to have a taste. I only ate the one bite, mostly because I didn’t want my family to think, “Aha! She’ll eat meat! Let’s feed her lots!” As it happened, though, I had food poisoning-like symptoms not too long thereafter, which the family decided was a result of eating the rabbit. (I don’t think they’re right, but that’s another story.) Long story short…they’ll never let me eat bunny again. And y’know, I’m entirely OK with that.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps