Much has been written lately about the disgust reflex, (see Pollan, The Omnivores Dilemma, Stuckey Taste What You’ve Been Missing,). It’s a fascinating facet to any discussion of taste. Why and how we develop a “disgust” reaction to certain things varies from the biological to the most narrowly cultural. It’s a defense mechanism, but also a way to align our tastes with peers, and express group preferences. That’s where things get sticky.
While the sources of disgust may seem self evident, they are not universal. The mere mention of drinking ones own urine, though met with extreme disgust in America, is common among many peoples. Former Prime Minister Morarji Desai of India drank a glass of his own urine every day. Urine is known to be an effective disinfectant and a useful field dressing for small wounds. But its association with solid excrement, which can indeed be deadly, puts it off limits in our culture.
Certain foods are also grouped under the general heading of Crap, one of our many words for excrement. Anything not liked can be called by this name.
And recently, we’ve been going through a sort of renaissance of coprophagy―the eating of excrement―in the form of Fairground foods, and even in places ostensibly reserved for Haute dining.
Now, this is a phase that many infants go through, and so it’s not surprising that our more infantile food culturals are trying it out too.
And that’s a good thing. It’s necessary to get this out of our system, and the sooner the better. Throwing, eating, and being generally fascinated by the waste products of our bodies-or our society-will lead to a deeper understanding of our foods and our bodies.
“We may find in the long run that tinned food is a deadlier weapon than the machine-gun.”.
SPAM: NOT LOCOVORE.
I can’t imagine a food less local, less organic, or less seasonal than Spam. Not to mention fake tasting and bad for you. Oh, and expensive. But there it is…
Meanwhile many people, particularly in Hawaii and on certain stretches of Melrose Ave. speak of how Spam got them through the War. We don’t see them huddled in bomb shelters, out of nostalgia, instead of going to the beach…. but they’re perfectly happy to eat the feces of our processed food industry. And many, nostalgic and determined as can be, defend it as a good food.
Like babies in a nursery playing with their own feces…as the adults suppress the gag reflex, and wait for the Food Revolution to start up again..