Feature: Exhibition - THE REVEAL FESTIVAL - Food Junctions runs from April 24 at Camley Street Natural Park.

Published: 15 April 2010

Why wouldn’t you sit down and feast on a delicious roast of cat? Why do we turn our noses up at the idea of eating pigeons, squirrels, or rats? After all, how does it differ from eating a cow or a chicken? These questions – and why what is considered to be a delicacy in one part of the world is seen as taboo in another – are the topic of a lecture by Mark Carnall, curator of University College London’s Grant Museum of Zoology, in one of a series organised for the Reveal festival.

“Taste in food is of course a combination of your upbringing and your culture,” he says.
“That is why when you come home from holiday, you get a little thrill seeing food you are used to. 
“People are disgusted by the thought of eating a cat – it has negative stereotypes, but in other places, the idea of eating something like suet is just as horrible.”
But we may well be forced to confront our squeamishness towards eating certain animals as food production becomes less stable because of the end of the age of oil, he explains.
“In the event of a catastrophe that hit food stocks, we’d all  die of starvation when the supermarkets had been looted,” says Mark.
“How hungry would we have to get before we’d consider eating a cat?
“It is very hard to redesign a food culture, although we are becoming more adventurous. 
“But it is a question of evolution. There is food our grandparents were happy to eat – offal, for example – people now abhor.”
Reveal Festival: Food Junctions runs from April 24 at Camley Street Natural Park.
 Visit www.food-junctions.org.uk 


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