My weekend started on a serrated-edged note of dark humor when, during a business meeting at a restaurant, my dinner companion and I snorted over a particular menu item:
As you can see from this photo of the menu, the restaurant offers rabbit with the assertion that the rabbits are “free-range.” Fantastic! Happy little bunnies hopping hither and thither over a grassy knoll.
But then we read that the rabbits are “slow-roasted” and “hand-pulled.” Hand-pulled? We exclaimed in unison. My visual instantly went from happy little bunnies to torn-apart bunnies. The menu’s brief description concludes with a touch of poetic, seductive frill, the “black trumpet mushrooms, thyme, Pecorino” part elegantly cloaking the macabre “slow roasted hand pulled” part. Perhaps they thought that starting with the nationality of the rabbit would smooth the way for the rest of the description… better these misfortunes befall a Canadian rabbit than an American one, though the dish is Croatian, not Canadian.
Coniglio Pljukanci: “Canadian free range & slow roasted hand pulled rabbit…”
Following this template, Callaghan and I – ever on the look-out for ways to amuse ourselves – later came up with a list of menu items featuring animals humanely kept before their inevitable demise:
Boeuf Bourguinon: “French grass-fed cow, guillotined, braised and immersed in a Burgundy wine sauce…”
Jaegar Schnitzel: “German open pen pig surrounded by barnyard friends, then bled out through the throat and filleted…”
Lamb Stew: “New Zealand petting zoo lamb executed by firing squad, cut into chunks…”
Kobe Beef: “Japanese cow tucked in at night with a bedtime story, then slaughtered & grilled…”
There’s probably something slightly wrong with us for having so much fun with this, but in my defense I was more reminded of Dr. Jonathan Swift’s satirical essay “A Modest Proposal,” in which he advocates the killing and eating of babies and children as a way to alleviate the poverty problem in 18th-century Ireland:
A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.
He had many ideas, in fact, and applied a great deal of thought to the matter:
On that note, I’m going to go put something together for lunch today. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, anyone?