Should (Talking About) Cooking a Cat Be a Crime?
- 2010/02/18 12:21:10
- Read all 237 opinions
A recent, rather graphic, allusion to cooking cat cropped up on television, and all parties involved are in hot water with the authorities – despite the fact that cooking the cat was merely being discussed.
An Italian food writer is feeling the heat after talking about how to cook the perfect cat casserole on La Prova del Cuoco, an Italian cooking show -- and he has been suspended indefinitely from the British show Ready Steady Cook.
Beppe Bigazzi’s elderly feet are in the fire after reportedly claiming the “succulent dish” was a famous, well-loved dish in Valdarno, Tuscany and is in fact far superior to all manners of “chicken, rabbit or pigeon.” He went into great detail about preparing kitty, claiming that the purrfect (sorry!) meal could only be coaxed from Whiskers after he/she was “soaked in spring water for three days” before hitting the stew pot.
Got that? Spring water. No Britta, no tap, no Perrier, team. Spring. Water.
Irate viewers set the phone lines on fire as soon as Bigazzi launched the cat yarn – and during commercial breaks, the show’s host allegedly tried to talk him into apologizing, but the feline-munching septuagenarian declined. After the show, fur really started to fly: the Deputy Health Minister even went so far as to issue a statement on the subject, saying it is “absolutely unheard of for a public service broadcaster to tell people how delicious cats are to eat.” Criminal charges against the show are currently being considered (the charge: inciting the mistreatment of animals).
Now Bigazzi, author of the now seemingly ironically titled “Cooking with Common Sense” is trying to back out of the imbroglio, claiming he was only joking. However, Bigazzi isn’t the first to step into a giant vat of hot water over cooking up pets.
And his pot certainly wasn’t the first to hold a kitty; a 1529 cookbook recommended spit-roasting cats that have been basted with garlic and olive oil, the Times Online reports. Inhabitants of Vicenza munch on Fluffy often enough to have earned the moniker magnagati (cat eaters), while the Spanish phrase pasar gato por liebre alludes to the common practice of attempting to sell skinned cats as rabbits. Just a few years ago, a cooking contest in Australia was held with the notion of reducing the feral cat population (by using the cat in a dish).
Meanwhile in China, where eating dogs and cats has been nominally approved of for centuries, a law was recently passed that would send cat-eaters to the clink for up to 15 days.
Don't get me wrong ... I'm a huge animal lover -- and I would never, under any circumstances,
eat a cat or a dog. But I'm an even bigger fan of freedom of speech and
I'm having a tough time wrapping my mind around qualifying cat cookery
as hate speech.
So what do you think …. Should chatting about cooking cats (or dogs) for that matter be a punishable offense? And if so, where do you draw the line? Can we chat about cooking deer and rabbit – or are those animals too close to Bambi and Thumper for us to stomach?
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