Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Feasting Limitations

Christmas tends to involve some form of feasting.  In most North American families, turkeys and hams are the norm.  In mine, turkeys and hams and prime rib are staples of the Christmas meals, of which we have several.

In Peru, the feasting standard?  Cuy.  Also known as roasted guinea pig.  Would you do it?  Would you eat the rodent, with its incisors still bared and its rodent-like claws baked to a golden brown? 

Apparently it tastes a little bit like dark chicken meat, or like roasted pork.  It is described as a fatty rich protein, with more skin than actual meat.  Those who have tried it consider it a tasty treat.

Here's the thing.  Generally, I have a pretty strong stomach.  After all, I am Chinese.  I've had beef tongue, chicken's feet (a favourite of mine, actually), fowl gizzard, beef stomach, beef tripe, suckling pig, and other seemingly gross meats that I'm sure would turn most stomachs.  For me, those foods are tasty and ingenious delights.

However, my stomach may not be strong enough for guinea pig.  I've not had the opportunity, but I think that if anyone were to bring me a platter with a stretched out, charbroiled rodent on it, complete with claws and a head, I would probably be making a mad dash to the nearest washroom to hurl.  I think that the visual reminder that this was once a furry caged member of the rat family is enough to give me the willies.

That said, I'm not an eating prude.  I just don't enjoy being reminded of what I'm eating.  I would probably be as creeped out if you brought me a side of cow with the head still on, or any animal with its head and feet still attached.  Frogs' legs are therefore okay, since they look like chicken wings and aren't accompanied by the ogly eyes of the frogs.

So would I try cuy?  Not if the head and the claws were attached, as they seem to be when they're traditionally served up in Peru.  However, if the rodent head and claws were lopped off prior to preparation and I was left with just the meat, I might dare sample a piece.  Maybe.

But not today.  Not after Googling the term "roasted guinea pig cuy" and studying the images.  Even a seasoned carnivore like me has feasting limitations.  


tejanamama said...

did you see this on tv or something? I cannot believe you Google'd it to see more and learn more! lol I am not a fan of food that LOOKS like anything it used to be. Burgers are the perfect example of food done well. A burger looks NOTHING like a cow or any part of a cow.

Unlike you, I wont touch feet cuz they LOOK like feet. Seeing the feet makes me think about the entire animal which is just a bit too much for me to handle!

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I had lots of chicken's feet over the holidays..yum yum! :)

I think it's the head/face that gets me. In this case, the paws are gross too. However, I will carve and eat a chicken or a turkey, and they still look a bit like their former selves!