Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chicago BBQ

Too soon, Chicago? It was a scant 140 years ago when the Second City went up in flames. Legend has it that Mrs. O'Leary's cow was to blame, but this pig seems to be rewriting history. Could it be pig-centric barbecue was really to blame?

Then again, maybe this is just suicidefoodism's drive to recast everything in terms of animals hungering for death.

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871? Don't despair! It's nothing more than a charming backdrop for a barbecue competition in which pigs tie their aprons on and prepare to cook their own ribs.

Addendum (8/29/11): We knew it! We've this pig before, way back in 2007.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


The Circle of Life is a happening thing in Turkey. Only, there, the people of Erpiliç recast the Circle of Life into "From Farm to Table." It's the kind of minor recalibration often undertaken by the suicidefoodists. Life, death… Let's not quibble.

To hear them tell it, the journey is one of love and sheer, bloody-minded adorableness. And shrink-wrapped meat, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

It starts with a flirtation, and then a bond is formed. A bond of attraction, surely, but more than that, a bond of enduring regard and trust. That chicken you're eating? It's made of love.

Our young chick joins the wider world, a world where she—yes, she; the useless males have long-since been lovingly pulverized—joins a community. She now has a social self.

Her original family is no longer even a memory to her. Her new family is a place of food and fattening up.

This is where things really start to veer from the traditional telling of the Circle of Life.

Because this is where we get to the part about cross-contamination. Which is why we see the (human) family member stepping through the cleansing bath. And then the masked family member making sure her hands are free of infectious agents. No doubt she'll perform similar procedures upon leaving the chickens' realm.

The glorious climax of the story! It's the confident march into the killing and packaging mechanism! The chickens transform themselves from pre-product—cumbersome, inconvenient—into Product, the hallowed culmination of the entire enterprise. The conclusion to a grand life, this perfectly brief waystation between not-life and not-life.

Or, as Erpiliç puts it, with equal parts poetry and horror:
In the first stage, blood is drained out of the carcass and then scalding process takes place in feather softening tank where chickens are prepared for defeathering. Subsequently, head is removed from the body and the headless carcass transferred to the evisceration line. During transfer process, feet of the chicken are cut using feet cutting machine.

Chickens are conveyed into the evisceration machine, and stomach area of the chicken is perforated. Evisceration machine completely removes internal organs of the chicken which come to the machine. The internal organs continue on the line towards the giblet separation machine, in which intestines and gall bladder are separated. Automation process continues in the subsequent stages. Chickens without internal organs are entered into the throat control machine where maws are removed and the chickens are passed to neck breaking machine. Chickens' necks are removed by the machine. Following removal of the necks, neck skins on the chickens are cut by a machine; and then the chickens are taken into the machine for complete washing including inside and out side.
Still with us? (The chickens aren't! Har har!)

It's the birth of a metaphor, a New Fable to shape our lives. It's all just a journey from farm to table, my friends. Farm to table.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gaspar's Sausage

Do you know why we love this little Portuguese pig?

Because he's just so decent. So real.

Let other brands have their educated pigs. Their high and mighty pigs. Their ivory tower pigs. Yeah, and while all that's going on, Gaspar's pig will be out there working for a living.

He embodies the values we all used to take for granted. Nowadays, when we see someone showing up on time and rolling up his sleeves and caring, we roll our eyes. "Sucker," we say with a sneer. "Chump." Well, this chump's getting it done. He doesn't need the limelight. We don't even know his name, but we already know him well enough to know that's not what this is about.

This is about doing what you say you're going to do. This is about punching in and delivering. This is about getting yourself killed and encased in sausage skins made of the lining of your own intestines. Because no one's going to do it for you.

Actually, they would. Without being asked, even. But don't tell him that.

(Thanks to Dr. Trent for the referral and the photo.)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Greater Youngstown Wing Fest

Now this is new. When it comes to animals flinging themselves under the axe, pigs are typically tops.

Well, step aside, pigs. There's a new player in town. And, hey: it's nothing personal. It's just, you know, sometimes a chicken's got to have its wings chopped off and fried up and shoved down someone's throat. Just how it is.

Oh, don't worry about the pigs. They've been in this business a long time. They've seen 'em come and they've seen 'em go. When the smoke clears and the dust settles, they'll still be here, lining up to get killed and eaten just like nothing happened.

But for now, it's this disreputable chicken's turn, this juvenile delinquent with his dungarees and his shades and his exciting air of brash youthfulness. He doesn't take nothing from nobody. Except for the people who have dominated every aspect of his existence from fertilization onward and brought him into being as a commodity for the express purpose of serving their bottom lines and ingrained habits. So, yeah, except for them.

(Thanks to Dr. Liz for the referral.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Festival of Cruelty 17

Every few months, we leave the safety of suicidefoodism's comfy lies—"the animals want us to do to them what we want to do to them" chief among them—and descend into the dungeons of the truth. Finding there nothing soft, nothing easy, we hold out as long as we can before climbing into the light of lies above. (Our last visit into the darkness.)

Burnside BBQ: Burn the side, burn the front, burn the back. Burn it all. In for a penny, in for a pound. The worst part: The pig's got a napkin tied under his chin. When they said they'd be pleased to have him for dinner, he thought they meant something else.

El Pampero: Who says "food" animals are mistreated, forced to live without adequate space, mental stimulation, or medical attention? Jab! Take that! Jab! And that!

We know that El Pampero means "the one from the pampas," the great, grassy plains of Argentina. But we can't help wanting to translate it as "The Pamperer." That's how we imagine the hypo-wielding pig describing himself, with supervillainish sarcasm.

Law Dawg BBQ: More abuse of canine power. It's an unlikely trope: the uniformed dog or wolf—a law enforcement officer or a pilot or a chef—rousting the local pig populace. In this case, a good ol' boy sheriff ushers a pig into the paddy wagon for a bit of extrajudicial barbecuing.

SS BBQ Team: Although the aproned executioner adheres to a system designed to remove the stink of patronage and caprice, still the deck is, shall we say, stacked. It's a sure thing: someone's going to die. The concession the chef makes is a small one. After all, he doesn't really much care who's next. He knows he'll get around to killing and grilling each of them in turn.

Stu Pit: So much for the respect the barbecuing community professes for the animals their food used to be.

See you next time! (There's going to be a next time?!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Suicide Art: a digression

As you know—even children know it!—animals want to die to enrich our lunches. And our wardrobes, our leisure time, our medicine chests, and our decrepit cultural institutions. And other things besides.

We've seen them all, all the ways animals are dying to serve us by serving up themselves. The July 3, 2011, edition of The New York Times Magazine suggests one that escaped our reeling imagination: art. Yes, we can now assume animals enjoy dying for our art.

In a piece titled "Among the Piglets," by Randy Kennedy, we learn about what Peter Nadin, onetime leading light of the intellectual New York City art circuit, has been up to lately. And what he's been up to is farming. We learn about how his experiences on the land have led him back to art. But we're not the only ones inspired. The animals are pretty darn happy about it, too! One of his projects is the artistic drying and curing of "a half-dozen mold-covered hams." Says Mr. Nadin, whether about his artistic or agrarian pursuits, we're not quite sure:
The pigs, for their part, might not agree that it's such a good thing to have happen, I suppose. But it seems to me like a pretty noble end, all in all. I wouldn't mind being eaten, you know? Meet your end in the forest somewhere and the coyotes and other animals eat your body? In fact, I think it would be quite a dignified way to go.
Almost as nobly dignified, we would venture, as having your entire life taken over by some artist who wants to make you his property, kill you, and make supper or art out of you.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Behold the death of Youth!

Witness the silencing of Rebellion!

Hearken to the imprisonment of Freedom!

Coherence itself is pulped and quietly disposed of. Wait, did we say quietly? No, no! This is Hamstock, and there is nothing quiet about it. This is triumphal! This is the glorification—reverberating from the hills—of senselessness!

Woodstock, with its tawdry legacy of stickittothemannity, has effectively been erased from the history books, for now we have the amplified justice of Hamstock! Unlike those unruly peaceniks—some of whom were no doubt vegetarians—the pig sings no hymn to individuality. He is no unique blossom in life's garden. He is a cog in a meat machine, remarkable only for his uniformity. Along with the millions of his identical brethren, he makes music to accompany the end of his days.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Olathe's Annual Kids Fishing Derby

You know what's awesome? Fish! Fish are awesome. This one in particular.

Just look at him, leaping out of the water, the very thing that sustains him! And why? For the kids! It's all for the kids.

The fish knows kids love killing things, and he loves kids, so he's only too happy to oblige them. The beauty part? He loves dying just as much as the kids love the idea of dragging him into the reeking air where he will suffocate, slowly and awesomely. It's like symbiosis, a partnership so perfect and, well, awesome, it almost gives you the shivers.

(Sad note: Participation is limited to the first 600 kids.)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Red Curry with Pork Fillet

The pig is alone on his island, his only company the playful sailboat that appears occasionally just past the lagoon. Apart from that fey blue sail, the pig has no one to talk to, no one to dream with. He has a coconut palm. He has food enough, thankfully. And he has the insane nightmare world that blooms brilliantly in his brain.

How else to explain what on earth he's doing?

Some have argued—believe us, we know—that the pig is merely capering. Or maybe gathering coconuts for his meager subsistence.

Please. We've been around the block a few times. We know what's what. The pig has gone out of his way to enact an elaborate ritual suicide. He will shinny up the slender tree until it bends just so, whereupon he will loosen his awkward grip and splash into the seasoned broth simmering in the wok. He intends to cook himself—with curry, coconut juice, and fish sauce—so that the sweetly calling birds will pick him apart and scatter him from one end of the island to the other in their droppings.

Addendum: Every year or so, we bring you one of these illustrations, from livestock pharmaceutical giant Baytril. Take a look at the most recent.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Mountain Farms

Have you been looking for a place to satisfy your dream of meeting miniature cattle while you satisfy your meat tooth? Look no further. Happy the 32-inch miniature bull—and the rest of his diminutive fellows—invite you to take it all in! See? He's talking to you!

Well, to be fair, Happy is mostly promoting the come-look-at-small-cows angle, but his parent company also deals in the edible side of the business, too.

Catering to the small-is-beautiful crowd, Happy and the rest of the shrimpy bovines make themselves available for anything you might have in mind. Petting, chewing, digesting, whatever.

(Thanks to Dr. Kirsten for the referral.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kippenhandel Heindryckx

Belgium, you crazy little country, you've done it again! It's always a blow to one's American pride when some Old World obscurity (we apologize) shows us how it's done.

Belgium's 11,780 square miles put her at about the size of Maryland. Now, sure, Maryland has plenty to boast about, not the least being this and this, but pound-for pound, Belgium is a major player.

This wrapper here is a doozy. It has recast the horror of seeing one's fellows immolated as an evening's comfy entertainment. The chickens gather around—are they in a clubhouse?—and plop down and just... relax.

Again (and again, and again), they don't tune in to a closed-circuit TV providing them with up-to-the-minute intelligence about the guards' whereabouts so that they might effect their escape. They sit there watching the boob tube! And what's more, it's not even some kind of keep-the-natives-fat-and-ignorant fare like, say, Belgium's Best Coops or Cock-a-Doodle Doofus! No, it's the brutal truth, the very thing that should have the power, the moral authority, to get them running for their lives.

Neither in Belgium, nor in Maryland—nor, indeed, in any place we have yet become acquainted with—can the animals be bothered.

("What's that? The corpses of our brothers and sisters slowly turning in the flames? The very flames to which we ourselves will be consigned tomorrow? What of it?")

"Hey! Keep it down! This is the good part! The skin's splitting open!"

("This really isn't a good time. Listen, I'll talk to you tomorrow. Catch me in the morning.")

It's a small world, after all.

(Thanks to Dr. Simon for the referral and the photo.)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Idiom Watch: Makin' Bacon

We take a break now from the crass world of commerce, with its logos, signs, slogans, come-ons, and assorted attention grabbers, and turn to the world of pure expression.

Specifically, the phrase "makin' bacon," surely one of the most unpleasant turns of phrase ever to spring from the mind of mankind.

The Contemporary Dictionary of Sexual Euphemisms by Jordan Tate (St. Martin's Press) tells us that the phrase formerly carried with it the specific sense of overweight humans having intercourse. Consider if you must the related dysphemism porking.

Nowadays, all we think of when we (infrequently!) encounter the phrase is pigs having sex to create more pigs to be consumed. "Makin' bacon," therefore, is the most perfect example of suicidefoodistic terminology we've ever come across. It also appears to be a favorite of the nation's t-shirt and tchotchke makers.

The pigs have harnessed their life force and channeled it to the needs of industry. Sex becomes an expression not of love or need or even wordless instinct, but of sterile supply and demand.

The offspring issuing from these bacon-making unions are not Khalil Gibran's "sons and daughters of life's yearning for itself." They're just commodities, born to be killed and chilled in your grocer's refrigerators.

Addendum: And we don't know what to make of this.

Addendum 2: Do you know this man?