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More on the “meet it before you eat it” trend: Yesterday’s New York Times reported on the controversy kicked up by Jamie Oliver killing a chicken on television. Not since Ozzy Osbourne has poultrycide caused such a rumpus. (Oliver’s next shock-you-healthy stunt: Dissecting a 350-pound human cadaver.) The article also mentions chefs buying hand-picked pigs through the whole-hog program at La Quercia, which you can participate in as well (scroll down).
I can only see this trend growing stronger, as we become more aware of (and worried about) the provenance of what we eat. When I was young, my parents would purchase a lamb from some 4-H youths at the Minnesota State Fair each summer. It’d show up a month or two later, cut up into roasts and chops. One year, our lamb came with a card written in the hand of someone no older than 10. It said, “Thanks for buying my lamb. I hope you enjoy eating her. By the way, her name is Betsy.”
I understand why my mom refused to buy any more lamb at the fair after that. And I agree with what chef Tamara Murphy told the Times: “I don’t name them….they are being raised for food, and there is a respectful distance I need to keep.” Seeing your food alive before you consume it is one thing; cutting into a Disney character is another.