‘Meat Is Murder’ and Other Meat-related Crimes

May 7, 2013

No one is talking about murder yet, but it’s just a matter of time. The latest food quality scandal in China is humming along steadily at the moment, with accusations flying, arrests being made, and protestations being hastily issued by restauranteurs and others in the food biz.

All this turmoil just because mutton was replaced with rat and fox meat to save a few shekels? Apparently so. As of last month, we only had to worry about whether our lamb was being fried in “gutter oil,” but that’s now old news. These days, you need to worry about whether that “lamb” that’s being fried in gutter oil is in fact lamb or some other animal, perhaps one with whiskers and sharp, pointy teeth.

I used to enjoy the hell out of Monty Python’s “Dead Bishop Sketch” because it was so absurd and silly. Now I can love it for being prescient. To set the stage, imagine a husband and wife sitting at the kitchen table after consuming their evening repast:

Man: What’s for afters?
Woman: Well there’s rat cake … rat sorbet … rat pudding … or strawberry tart.
Man: Strawberry tart?!
Woman: Well, it’s got some rat in it.
Man: How much?
Woman: Three (rather a lot really).
Man: … well, I’ll have a slice without so much rat in it.

Hits a little too close to home these days.

Perhaps the most humorous aspect of this whole scandal, though, is the terminology being used to describe it. The myriad infractions and violations have been categorized as “meat-related crimes.” This is awesome, a label worthy of dystopian fiction, or perhaps horror. Heaven knows what Clive Barker could do with that title. {shudder}

I know what I would do with it:

Customer: I’d like some dumplings. What do you have today?
Jiaozi Vendor: {clears throat and spits into a bucket at his feet} We have three varieties of boiled dumplings: rat & cabbage, rat & leek, and our vegetarian special.
Customer: Vegetarian? So there’s no rat in it?
Vendor: No rat, although there might be some fox.
Customer: Just as long as it’s kosher . . .