Monday, December 15, 2008

Crap on a Cracker

Socrates --via Plato--discussed piety and questioned the source of piety. Does something become pious because the gods love it, or do the gods love something because it is already pious?

I seek to modernize, commercialize, and appetize this mystery. Are certain foods considered a prized delicacy because they are expensive, or are delicacies expensive because they are truly tasty? Is it really good, or do we just like stuff because it is 'uppity'?

For the record, I began writing this post before the youngster wrote his previous one.

We will begin with the crustaceans. First up: lobster. It is generally the money item at fine restaurants everywhere. It is a cliche' when picturing an extravagant banquet. Surprisingly, as late as the early 20th century, it was considered the food of the poor. Household servants would specify in their employment contracts a maximum number of lobster dinners per week from their aristocratic employers. They preferred chicken. With this kind of history, it is amazing that you will pay $20 for around 6-oz. of tail meat when you buy a live lobster out of the tank at Kroger. Don't folks realize that it is just a big cockroach from the ocean?

What about oysters? They are little joyful bundles of sputum that live in the mud of polluted bays everywhere. They are known to transmit diseases to diners who consume them raw. They eat poop!

Have you ever seen the water that blue crabs are pulled from? I have. They are the kind of waters that good old Milorad slithered out of. It is no wonder that YHWH put them on the non-kosher list. Crustaceans are just gross.

Yet I can't get enough of them. I have yet to find one that truly disgusts me. I have eaten some bad oysters in my life, but that has not turned me away from them. Why do I like them? Why do I like the various marine cockroaches so much? I may have developed a taste for them over time, but what initially piqued my interest? It would have to be the exclusivity of it. I have grown to enjoy exotic foods, but as a youngster I was not as discriminating. I would eat such things more as a sign of status than for the purest of gastronomic pleasures. I would especially enjoy ordering lobster on my birthday just to annoy the youngster and make him jealous.

Sushi. Again, I can't get enough of it. By all appearances, it is disgusting with respect to pre-1990's American attitudes. Children are repulsed at the very idea of eating raw fish, or any raw meat for that matter. It is instinct to avoid those foods. I also can easily spend $40 or more just by myself at a sushi bar in Evansville, Indiana.

Pâté. I can pass this up. The liver scrubs toxins out of your system. Eating liver is akin to eating the filter from your air conditioner after your family just got over coughing Ebola during a particularly moldy, yet dry summer in Rhodesia. It does not come from free-range geese in the pure Canadian north, it comes from farm raised FRENCH geese who wallow in mud and puddles frequented by pigs, and the FRENCH.

I won't even get into all of the stuff that Andrew Zimmern chokes down each week.

Here is what I propose as the next stage in the evolution of cutting edge cuisine: Scâté. I am not talking about the greenish pile that hoovers* around the solidus/liquidus line of a phase diagram when a cow gets into some bad snake weed at a Superfund site. I am talking about a finely cultivated product that comes only from the hind end of an estrous Arabian mare two evacuations after feasting on a live patch of Kentucky bluegrass growing between the various sprouts and leafy plants lovingly hand raised only in Martha Stewart's very own private herb garden under a full moon after the last frost prior to the budding of the Bradford pear trees in the South. This stuff is going to be huge. The cost will be such that it will be cheap by comparison to shave white truffle over your Caesar salad at Romano's Macaroni Grill like it was the complimentary Parmesan cheese or fresh ground black pepper. The standard preparation will also involve capers and possibly a dash of anise extract for both flavor and medicinal/aphrodisiac effect. It will of course be served on matzoh lightly sprinkled with kosher salt and bitter herbs.

Will people buy it? The Emperor bought his new clothes for an exorbitant price. If it is expensive, it must be good. Once a bargain version of scâté arrives, the thrill will be gone, but until then, at $2750 for a 2.2-oz. loaf (the standard serving), rappers everywhere will be pouring (spreading?) this over their hoochies in their videos like is was mere Cristal.


Blogger Benjamin said...

Bwahahahahahah... that was great, Sam.

I never considered oysters to be a delicacy, considering how cheap they were at Aw Shucks. But I love 'em too.

And I DO like lobster for the taste, which is why I'll only buy it at $6.99/lb, not the usual $12.99.

I think I've only done the "ooh, gotta try it because it's rare and pricey" thing once: escargot. Had to see what all the fuss was about, and Mom and Dad were paying. Meh. Salty and somewhat akin to a weird combination of cooked oysters and clams. And the thought of eating slugs fits very much into the whole "Scatay" thing you've devised, I think.

Other than the very end, this post made me very hungry. Which sucks particularly because I'm fasting today, AND there's a "food fest" going on down stairs.

Discovering the history of how lobster went from crap to delicacy would be interesting. Probably like the diamond industry, there must be a cartel involved.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Scatay denotes Indian food. Since I am dealing with feces, I wanted the French-esque delicacy as the pattern. I had to cut and paste for the special characters in Pate.

The end was supposed to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Did you click on all of the h-links?

12:27 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

That's my way of being too lazy to cut n paste the special characters.

And yes, I did read the end, hence the "other than the very end" part.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Marty said...

You're a little late, Sam. There already is a very pricey kind of coffee that is made from beans that have gone through the digestive tract of a civet cat.

For an interesting take on the snot that comes from the sea, read H. L. Mencken's essay "Baltimore in the 80s" (that's 1880's) in "Happy Days". Here's a link on Google Books:,M1

5:05 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

I watched the History of Poop on the History Channel. The coffee beans are excreted, but they are not rendered into a markedly different state. Besides, you expose it to boiling water before you consume it, so it is not of the spirit of Scate.

10:53 AM  

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