Wednesday, May 8, 2013


My attention has been drawn, as I’m sure yours has too, to the latest Chinese food scandal.  The Chinese police broke a crime ring that passed off a million dollars worth of “rat and small mammal meat” as mutton.  These small mammals included fox and mink.

Now, this is clearly very bad and wrong: if I’m going to eat rat (and I probably would in the interests of research) then I’d like to know about it, though I suspect an awful lot of people have eaten rat over the centuries, it being a delicacy in certain parts of China, and a great deal of it got eaten during the Battle of Stalingrad.  And I suppose, if nothing else, most of it has been free range. 

Mink, I suppose, would probably be farmed: if you’re breeding them for their fur, why not sell their meat too?  And fox?  The received wisdom on fox, is surely, per Oscar Wilde, that it’s “the inedible,” though I did read a report a few years back that a butcher in England was selling fox specially imported from Scandinavia.  I seem to recall that people found it tough.

However, the big question I’m left asking is, by what incredible process did the Chinese get their small rodents to taste like lamb?  We know that unusual meat is always supposed to “taste like chicken.”  The answer, according to news reports, is that “additives” were used.  Now, those must be some powerful, desirable and I’d say potentially magical additives.  Never mind selling rat, mink and fox, why not just sell the additives?  Of course you wouldn’t call them additives, obviously, you’d call it “Lamb in a Pack” or “Lamby Flavor Enhancer.”  I’d buy it buy it in bulk.

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