Travel Channel ran a marathon of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern this weekend. Now for regular readers you know what a big fan of food I am in general. Food Network is tagged as a favorite on the remote and I get email updates from the network all the time. The travel channel also has some food show that I tune into but I never realized until today that food can be more than pleasure and sustenance. Food is also a history book and map on the mentality of people.
This idea came to me as I caught the last part of the Ethiopian episode. Andrew was in a hut with the natives eating camel. In itself not a big deal, we eat many animals here in this country that others in different countries might look twice about. No the thing was they were eating the camel meat raw. Now I like my steak rare and I love the sushi, but raw camel meat, yes I would try it because I am open to trying a lot of stuff, but I wondered how this came about.
I know a couple things about Ethiopia, not a lot but a friend of mine married a woman from there and I have had several chances to sit and dine (nothing like the feast they prepare) and ask my ignorant raised in America questions. Ethiopians are a hardy people who have never been conquered by any other nation and people. I mean in their whole history they have repelled everybody that rolled up on them. That in itself is amazing, but back to my point. The eating of the raw camel meat came about very matter of factly. Warriors who were out on a war campaign at night needed to eat, and because these people are true warriors they did not want to give away their position with cooking fires, so they ate the meat raw.
As I learn more and more about food it serves to build bridges for me when it comes to other cultures. Who knows, maybe some day world peace will be brought on by every culture sharing their version of chitterlings.
Well maybe not!