Tisdale-MeatIsGrossBut - Salon.com Meat is gross, but it...

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BY SALLIE TISDALE THURSDAY, MAY 18, 2000 12:00 ET Meat is gross, but it tastes good Desperate to find that my hunger for animal flesh was alien, I overlooked the fact that it was all too human. P eople eat meat. As long as people have kept records of what they eat, they've made it clear that they will eat as much meat as they can. Meat is at the top of the planetary food chain; it is necessarily a food for the few, and the rich, but it has always been the most desired of meals. Meat-eating is itself a solution to overpopulation, even as overpopulation largely eliminates the eating of meat. A lot of meat in the diet means a lot of animals on the land eating a lot of subsistence grains, and this equation leads directly to the starvation of agrarian people. The historian Fernand Braudel hypothesized that the success of Asian cultures was due in part to their largely vegetarian diet, which allowed populations to grow large and spread across an efficiently managed expanse of land. That these populations were largely vegetarian only because they didn't have the grain base to support a meat diet is the other side of this suggestion. In all this long history of meat-eating, there is a parallel history of solemn concern. People have been almost as occupied with what it meant to eat meat as with getting the meat in the first place. Eating meat is, traditionally, a matter of ceremony, sacrifice and ritual gratitude. Eating a lot of meat, as Europeans and Americans like to do, has always been seen as a dangerous act, an act fraught with the possibility of psychic and spiritual ruin. Vegetarianism, too, has a long history, particularly among the religious. The Enlightenment was marked by a wave of Christian
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Tisdale-MeatIsGrossBut - Salon.com Meat is gross, but it...

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