Preamble… A Prayer…
In appreciation of all that we humans understand as one of the greatest gifts to humankind – God’s, Earth, and its bounty… and, in turn, mankind’s refractory dedication to finding ALL that may be favorably flavorful and salubrious… we thank Thee Lord!
Thus would read the script on the plaques dedicated to their respective civilizations on all the inhabited continents of this good earth. And it’s just that that got me wondering how humans had found so much delectable and nutritious. And I wondered again… who first had seen a snail with a slime slick mucking its travelled path, and said either to himself or mate, “That looks good to eat!”
I’d have wagered he was really hungry. Or, maybe it was something else. Maybe it was something like this that went down.
Hunters & Gatherers
All that really needs be done for the furtherance of civilization, all that needed be done to get to ‘HomoSapiens’ from ‘Homo erectus’, is to have males at the center of that great endeavor.
Is it not indisputable that, at base, most all contributions to the advancement of humankind on our tiny speck in the cosmos dabbed in cool blues and greens, have come about with one man’s dare to another. Have just one man say to a natural born competitor, “I dare you”, and a stride – timid, queasy, or great, will have been made up to the summit of high civilization. It’s not long anyone would have to wait for cutlery… and eventually… posh dinners with three drinking glasses, two knives, two spoons four forks… or however many we’re up to now.
No! You Eat It.
Have just one man say to another “I dare you to eat it” and you have made, with that challenge, a contribution to upward mobility, high society, and will have forged another link to the top of the food chain. It was just that simple: … “I dare you to eat it”
“Nothing good comes of wishing, speculating and/or theorizing. Trial error, and death, fuel the advancement of the species”. – George Wildman
One reason I’m grateful to all our more advanced hominid ancestors is their undying (sometimes dying, unfortunately) resolve to pick up some crawly wriggly thing, applying first death, then heat, or digging up some malodorous root and… taking a bite.
I won’t say I’d never have done it, but it would be only under the the direst of circumstances or a dare being in play… or some fine payoff in the offing…say… stimulants, brewed, distilled or female. Speaking of which… women had made the lesser contribution in this endeavor but much the tastier one. As is her wont she will do much of most anything to make ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ might be… better.
There’s more to the hunter than a brittle branch with a flaked flint lashed to one end; also more to the gatherer. Both were – being steadfast by their very human male nature – innately discriminatory and in no time the notions of quality and improvement and ’better’ came into being. Sure it took two, three, millennia to get to the point of massaging the cattle in all the right places for ultra tender beefsteak but we got there… and had you ever tasted one of those suckers? The fine elegance of preparatory care that goes into ‘haute cuisine’ needs also to be recognized, admired, and shared… ‘haute husbandry’ (vegetable and animal).
And what we humans taste, relish, enjoy, while devouring stuff, we do with what?… near three ounces of meat called a tongue. I know animal tongues are on some menus, in some fancy districts, with fancy bistros, with frazzled temperaments kept warm with showy toques… but I’m not eating anything’s tongue… unless… someone dares me… maybe!
I’ll Drink To That!
A toast here to ‘better’ – one of the greatest concepts devised by humankind to lift and distance itself from that most gawd awful place “good enough”.
Some may need convincing, I’m not one of them. Paradise may have been lost to Adam and Eve but they were not banished to either desert or tundra. They were left much that only needed husbandry and toil. It’s a powerful thing – human reach, human determination and experiment. In fact, we have on the earth a natural paradise and have made of it something even better. Humans, for all they’d mucked up, have indisputably proven they have an upside.
One Last Thing
Never would, or could I, attempt to convince myself or anyone, that a fatburger dressed with grilled onions and mushrooms, on brioche was a treat lesser than escargot.
I’ve never had escargot. There’s only one way to get me to try.
Happy Blessed Thanksgiving… To ALL!