Monday, September 20, 2010

Memo to Lions: We'll Eat the Bacon & Eggs, You Take Care of the Gazelles

Is there any way in which bacon and eggs cannot taste good? Fried, scrambled, omeletted or in a quiche eggs and bacon are the perfect food. I venture to suggest that if you force fed a pig nothing but eggs and then licked its sweat you would still get something delicious. My apologies to anyone who was eating while reading that last sentence.

It should be accepted, however, that eating is essentially a gross and disgusting business. Animals are killed, plants are ripped from the life giving soil then the pair are hacked into bits, burnt and put on plate. Behind every meal is a trail of carnage that would make Attila the Hun go pale. I think this is why good cooking is considered so important. The better the meal the easier it is to quiet that little voice in the back of your head reminding you where the deliciousness comes from. Vegetarians needn't feel smug or superior at this point. They are single handedly responsible for the worst plant devastation since agent orange. I don't remember soy beans and organically grown vegeburgers actually volunteering to hop onto a dinner plate. If you do remember such a thing stop picking your own mushrooms.

From the outside the natural world is such a beautiful, serene place. Close up it resembles a game of Grand Theft Auto set in a zoo. Across the wide beautiful magical world is a hideous deathscape of bloodshed and ferocity. Even the plants those seemingly innocent tokens of nature's beauty eagerly plunge their roots into soil made fertile by the carcasses of the fallen and the remnants of their own kind. Plants are cannibals in the most fundamental way reaching delicate tendrils towards the sky while standing on the bones of their own kin.

Not that the animals are any better; who hasn't watched a nature documentary and hoped against hope that the graceful little gazelle will outpace the marauding lion? Except me of course, I watch nature documentaries with a tawny coloured scarf and a little "Go Lions" flag that I wave every time there's a kill. Still I can understand why people have sympathy for the gazelle; such a delicate, graceful creature fated to be crushed beneath a couple of hundred kilograms of killing machine. But think for a moment. What if the lion missed that kill? What if it missed every kill? Soon our fearless marauder of the plains would be a skinny, mangy wreck stumbling along without hope or direction until the inevitable day when rising takes too much effort. The golden eyes would close for the last time and the vultures and hyenas would gather to feast on a meal not quite dead. Anything left would enter the soil and the savannah grass and bushes would grow fat on the bounty. These grasses and bushes incidentally are what the gazelle eats, something to think about next time you shed a tear at a gazelle's imminent demise.

Eating is messy and brutal but ultimately much more fun than not eating. Besides if everything wasn't killing stuff all over the place imagine how crowded the world would be. After the fifth time you tripped over a gazelle on the way to the bathroom you might be wanting a few lions around yourself.

1 comment:

  1. As clear-eyed as ever:-) Love 'From the outside the natural world is such a beautiful, serene place. Close up it resembles a game of Grand Theft Auto set in a zoo'.