Nowadays when we speak about guilt and food we usually take part in modern moral-debates about meat consume or food fair trading. One party in this endless dialog are orthodox meat lovers, omnivores, those who traditionally refuse any kind of food revolution. For them quinoa is food for sparrows, green kale a nightmare from the kindergarten and healthy snack a sick joke. Following Darwin they see themselves as a stronger species dedicated to cruel killing and biting into raw flesh, feeling the iron-taste of warm blood. The more they eat, the better they feel. For them, food is true pleasure.
Those who are on the other side of river don’t want to deal with these destructive monsters. According to the plant based, green souls all meat-eaters are bad humans. They should be extirpated from our ecosystem, because our planet is GREEN, you know?! No blood, no flesh, no gluten, no trash. There is no heart beating, no lungs breathing. Only turmeric latte, wooden spoon and plastic (but vegan) shoe. Meat-eaters are guilty for God loving more Abel than Cain, for sexual desire, for mass industry and earthquake in Italy. And for Trump, of course. Enlightened vegans rather feed dogs than humans in India, they carefully choose a tofu-sausage flavor and post mass-killing-animal-videos on social medias #veganforpresident. For them also, food is a true pleasure. So, don’t mess with them, because they are saving the world, for God’s sake!
For God’s sake, indeed…
Looking back at our early history we can see us, humans, hunting and gathering, living in small groups of 15 people without blood relationships, fearing of conflict just like of animals. While moving around many of us ended in predator’s hungry jaws. It is likely that we were hunted more often by animals, than that we hunted them, because we actually didn’t know how to do it. Only because we started to use our greatest quality- quality of transformation- it became possible for us to change our position from prey into hunter. We started to imitate their claws, sounds, movements and walk (some legends say that animals actually had a upright carriage, but they got scared from our weapons, so they fell to the earth and started walking on all four). And at one point we stopped moving. We settled. We made us owners of rivers, fields, sun and sky. We created a property. And no one actually knows why we did it. Why we stopped migrating?
There are many theories about why humans settled down (invention of fire, brewing etc.), but there is one from Roberto Calasso I like most: humans started experiencing guilt. In this phase of agrarian culture, humans firmly cohabited with animals; they used them for any kind of work and as a food resource (milk, butter, cheese etc.). Because of this close relationship between humans and animals, killing the animals was made a taboo subject. Animals were eaten only in special occasions- during a cult, for God’s sake. Animal sacrifice was accompanied by many apology-practices: rituals. Those rituals stood as a symbolic balance in the world of two poles: one that eats and another that is eaten…
But not only eating the meat creates guilt, it’s the eating in itself that is “violent”. In order to survive there is always one life that has to glow out. Even if we destroy the smallest part of the world by keeping ourselves alive. So in our modern, industrial times we adopted a practice of faking. We fake our guilt. Animals became a mass product, but they are nowhere to see. Germans eat around 50 Milions of pigs in one year. During 10 years of living in Germany I saw 1 pig. The meat in Fast-Food industry doesn’t look like meat, the aesthetic of meat products in supermarkets hides their true origins, veggie-burgers are extremely popular and again this tofu sausage…
It is obvious that we need new forms of eating-rituals. New practices of dealing with our ancient feelings of guilt. To begin with, maybe we should start to respect our history, recognize what we really are and stop being ashamed of it. Then, when it comes to food and no matter what you decided to eat, the true guilt is if you don’t enjoy it. For God’s sake!
Enjoy this gluten-free Strawberry-Rhubarb Cake:
Ingredients (makes one 20cm baking form):
200g rice flour
200 g oats flour
70 g cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 Tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
100 ml mild olive oil
3 organic eggs
150 g unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large rhubarb stalks
300 g strawberries (sliced and whole)
For cocoa whip:
1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1 Tsp cacao powder
1 Tsp cocoa sugar
pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 180°C and oil an 20cm round baking form, dust pan with cacao powder and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In another large bowl, beat together the sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until mixture is wet and sandy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating them on low until fully incorporated. Add the applesauce and vanilla, and beat together once more until mixed.
4. In 3-4 applications, add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend on low until mixed. repeat until everything is incorporated. set the electric mixer aside and with a spoon fold in a sliced rhubarb.
5. Pour the batter in your prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes. When done, cool cake completely. Once cool, run a thin knife around the sides to loosen it.
6. Frost with the chocolate whip and top with sliced and whole strawberries.
1.Turn coconut milk can over and open from the bottom. Pour out the coconut water (reserve for smoothies, etc.) and scoop the solidified coconut cream into a mixing bowl. Add the cacao powder, sugar, vanilla, and salt, and beat together with an electric mixer until all the ingredients are mixed and frothy. Taste for sweetness adding more sugar if necessary.