Should (Talking About) Cooking a Cat Be a Crime?

When does discussing extreme, out of the ordinary cooking (and eating) become more than cruel … when does it become a crime?

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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  • Warrior Alchemist 2010/02/19 04:00:57
    Warrior Alchemist
    No thanx, I think I`m good with eating chicken.
  • john brenni 2010/02/19 03:55:43
  • Charlie 2010/02/19 03:54:06 (edited)
    I have no desire to eat cat but some cultures do eat them.Some eat dogs as well.Most American have no problem eating cow,pig or chickens.I can't understand why it's ok for people to eat one animal and not another.I personally like cows more than horses.Why spare a horse but eat a cow.I'd eat a horse.
  • ashley. 2010/02/19 02:57:12
    no way i love my cats <3why would i eat one that's gross
  • Vanessa 2010/02/19 02:38:57
    Man, i wouldnt eat my cat after what happened last night........huh......
  • Pablo 2010/02/19 02:24:56
    Not anymore than cooking squirrels, rabbits, deer, bear (black), coon, beaver, elk and various birds. Whats the problem ? Do you think our ancestors had A&P;, Shoprite, and WinnDixie in their time ? Do you think they ate off a menu with calories listed in the right column ? Eat it or don't; try something else. But remember, when going to a Korean or Chinese restaurant be sure the cat or dog is still there before ordering. LOL
  • KirkD 2010/02/19 01:22:29
    bambi and thumper? I eat those anyway.... well the rabbit only when I'm going survival camping
    ANd would I eat cat... Hell yeah, i hate cats
  • den 2010/02/19 01:22:13
    Join the discussion! Leave a comment.In some countries cats and dogs are eaten, including the Philippines. If people want to eat a cat they are welcome.
  • Pablo den 2010/02/19 02:26:03
    Yea; especially when a person is hungry, then see your dignity go the hell out of the window.
  • Catlareu Pablo 2010/02/19 10:58:36
    The cook wasn't talking survival techniques. There is a difference in what we would be willing to eat to survive compared to everyday life.
  • Pablo Catlareu 2010/02/20 02:19:25
    And hopefully no one you or I know wil have to resort to this behaviour. However, our ancestors did this; eat various varmits and hoofted animals, not so much for survival, but thats all that there was....no grocery stores, restaurants, lattes, etc.
    Cheers !
  • Catlareu Pablo 2010/02/20 21:22:58
    Our ancestors did, true. Horse was very big on the menu in certain areas and there is some controversy on whether it should be eaten now. All depends on which country one lives in. Personally I'll stick to chicken and the egg. ;-)
  • Pablo Catlareu 2010/02/21 01:24:35
    "which came first" ? ...... ha ha ha
  • Mz.Lautner 2010/02/19 01:05:31
    noo.!! i luvv cats, they rock..why would i eat one.?
  • Victoria 2010/02/19 01:05:09
    haha that's funny.
    ha and umm.. YEAH,, i actually wouldn't mind eating a cat.
    i mean,, we eat chickens and cows an stuff,, they're all animals and they all have MEAT on them don't they?? and before someone says humans have meat too,, would you eat a person?? my answer would be YES, i would. i don't see a difference in animal meat and a person's meat. [[people are considered animals too aren't they??]]
  • Vic Victoria 2010/02/19 02:18:41
    Would you eat Cat Stevens?
  • Pablo Vic 2010/02/19 02:28:08
    Funny......how about Cat Ballou ? Kat man do ? Catacombs ?
  • Vic Pablo 2010/02/19 02:31:33
    Maybe even Catwoman, and Kitty Carlisle.
  • Pablo Vic 2010/02/19 02:35:40
    Catastrophtic ? Catalictic (as in converter) ?
  • Vic Pablo 2010/02/19 02:41:07
    Vegeterians can eat cattails and pussy willows.

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Kathleen Willcox

Kathleen Willcox

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2009/10/23 23:07:45

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