Thursday, April 13, 2006

Dog for Dinner.

Today, April 13th …

The Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-06), was the first U.S. overland expedition to the Pacific coast and back. On this day in 1806, the party was on the return trip, and Meriwether Lewis wrote in his journal:

… the dog now constitutes a considerable part of our subsistence and with most of the party has become a favorite food; certain I am that it is a healthy strong diet, and from habit it has become by no means disagreeable to me, I prefer it to lean venison or Elk, and it is very far superior to the horse in any state.

The expedition party frequently bartered with Indian tribes along the route for dogs for food, but not all were as enthusiastic as Lewis. The rearing of dogs specifically for food, as has happened (and still happens) in various communities is a concept which causes outrage amongst animal rights advocates who are geographically and culturally elsewhere, and who unfortunately seem unable to keep ethnic slurs out of the debate.

Like it or not, for all sorts of reasons throughout history, man’s best friend has at times been man’s best food. One mans taboo or crime is another’s delicacy or medicine, and a taboo can be quickly neutralised by extreme hunger. The Polar explorer Robert Peary (1909) said “Many times I have thanked God for a bite of raw dog”, and who are we who have not experienced starvation in the frozen wastes to be judgmental?

Lewis and Clark did not have the wherewithal to cook their dog meat to a ‘recipe’, but here, for the curious, and with every disclaimer possible, is a recipe from Jerry Hopkins’ ‘Extreme Cuisine’.

Stir-Fried Dog with Coconut Milk.

1 lb haunch, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 small green chilies, seeded and sliced
4-6 mushrooms, sliced
1 cup coconut milk
5 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1 teaspoon cornflour (mixed with water to form a paste)
salt and pepper to taste
fresh mint leaves

Heat oil in wok or frying pan, then add meat, stir-frying until lightly browned. Add coconut milk and soy sauce and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add onion, chillies, mushrooms, and seasoning and continue to stir. When the mixture begins to bubble, stir in cornflour paste. Garnish with mint leaves. – Based on interviews with Chinese cooks, Bangkok and Guangzhou, 1998.


Sam said...

this is a great post. Anyone who eats meat should also be able to stomach the idea of eating dog. If they can't then maybe it's time for them to turn vegetarian!
If I was living to survive, I imagine I would proably eat most things. I can't say I am in any great hurry to try it however...

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Sam,
I am getting a few emails on this topic, it seems I have stirred up some interest (no death threats so far ...). I agree with your comments on eating meat/eating dog, but also am not in a hurry to try it.
I tried to email you from the link to your name, but no link ...

Anonymous said...

"this is a great post. Anyone who eats meat should also be able to stomach the idea of eating dog. If they can't then maybe it's time for them to turn vegetarian!"
Aye, true dat! I'm vegetarian and proud!

David Barrie said...

In Vietnam, there are seven ways to eat dog, and here they are:

1. Thit Cho Luoc - Steamed dog

2. Cha Cho - Grilled dog

3. Rua Man - Steamed dog in shrimp sauce, rice flour and lemon grass

4. Doi Cho - Dog sausage with dog blood, peanuts, vegetables and neck bone

5. Gieng Me Mam Tom - Steamed dog in shrimp sauce, ginger, spices and rice vinegar

6. Canh Xao Mang Cho - Bamboo shoot and dog bone marrow

7. Cho Xao Sa Ot - Fried dog in lemon grass and chilli

I'm still trying to work out how I feel about all of this.

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Addictive Picasso - Hmm. I'm not sure how I feel about it either. If I had to eat dog however, these dishes do sound good.

ChefNick said...

Oh, just substitute the word "pork" or "chicken" for dog and where's all the outrage? Lots of people keep chicken for pets. Pigs are a tad too large, but again, what on Earth is the difference?

Just because Fifi goes into the salon every week doesn't mean she might not be tasty.

I would particularly go out of my way to eat dog but I'm sure if it were served for me in a tasty curry, say, without my knowledge, I'd probably find it fantastic.

The whole controversy is beyond ridiculous.

EXCELLENT blog, by the way . . . I stumbled upon it looking for Chicken Marengo.

I think you should rewrite the whole Wikipedia entry--it's all the hogwash you say it is.



The Old Foodie said...

Hello Chef Nick. I am glad you like my stories: I agree on the idea of eating dog - in theory at least! I would try it, if offered, but I am not so sure about rat. I guess our prejudices have no logic, do they?

Anonymous said...

I don't eat any animals. We are not at the top of the food chain. We are the species destroying our planet. And the number one cause of global warming is the cattle industry. And no I don't live in a tree and I don't where hemp clothes. I am a very aware human being who is educated on the dangers of both the industry of meat and the consuming of meat. The laundry list of disease caused by meat consumption should be enough to stop the "top of the food chain" arrogance, but it doesn't. Nobody needs to give any of you death threats - you go ahead and keep on eating critters - you're already killing yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I saw that I spelled where incorrectly. Should be "wear." Typo.

Gonzo Redleggs said...

As Paul Newman said in one of his movies: (if you had ever been realy hungry, not just ready for supper...) you'd eat dog and you'd fight over the bones. I have eaten dog as an honored guest at a Hopi home. It was all they had to eat and it was graciously offered, and received.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Gonzo Redlegs - couldnt agree more with your general sentiment - I've never eaten dog myself, but I would in the situation you are talking about.

Kenli said...

you are a bunch of sick people. i would never do that to my dachshund. he is ashamed that you are making SAUSAGE OUT OF HIS COUSINZ! poopers

Anonymous said...

the way our government is running things, it may be a necessity before long.

Unknown said...

dog is like the tuna of the land i eat it china , japan and in my country trinidad the good and tasty meat i ever had ,

Anonymous said...

I would luv to try it. Dog chicken goat cow are all sources of protein and if prepared properly should be tasty. Besides who knows what animals raised on farms are actually fed.

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Anonymous, whoever you are. I think what we like or are disgusted by is culturally determined - although in extreme hunger, people will eat almost anything!

Anne said...

My Newfoundland is smarter than a lot of people. If we are going to eat dogs, we may as well start eating humans. But it's not the eating of dogs (or for that matter, any intelligent animal) that bothers me, it's killing them intentionally and systematically. Imagine humans in cages knowing they are going to be taken out next. You had better believe that animals know what's happening. To me, raising animals for food is horrific and heartless on an unimaginable scale.

Asifur Rahman said...