Eating Cute

| April 16, 2010 | 36 Comments
  • 36 Comments

Bunny Kiss. Photo by Nicky Dunbar.

Photo Credit: Nicky Dunbar

Where I work, we serve rabbit. It’s a delightful dish, but when I describe it to guests, very often I am greeted with head-shaking, gasps of alarm, or– sometimes– the empathetic bunny-twitching of noses.

“Oh no, no, no,” I’ve heard more than once,”I could never eat rabbit. They’re so… adorable!”

Some people just can’t stomach the thought of eating “cute.” Of course quite often, these are the same people who ask me to describe for a second time the lamb special.

So when did lambs stop being cute? When their heads are removed? When they are slowly roasted over an open fire? When they are served with potatoes?

Why this aversion to rabbit, I ask?

For those folks who have kept rabbits as pets, the aversion is understandable, though why anyone would want one in their home is beyond me. They serve no practical domestic purpose of which I am aware. They don’t do tricks (I stand corrected here. Some of them do do tricks). They are more than often pests– just look at what happened to Australia.

Lambs are cute, too, and provide wool for sweaters and socks but we don’t seem to have much of a problem eating them. Rabbits are turned into coats that only hookers seem to wear, so why do some people cry when they see them offered on a restaurant menu but don’t seem to bat an eye when they read the word “lamb”?

Why would anyone else (apart from vegetarians) be averse to eating rabbit moreso than other animal flesh? Did they suffer through enough rabbit stews during the Great Depression and World War rationing? Is the Easter Bunny and his promises of candy to blame? Have we been brainwashed or bribed with enough sugar into believing the consumption of rabbit flesh is a crime against nature, but that somehow eating other adorable-looking animals is perfectly acceptable?

Or does it have something to do with Bugs Bunny? I’ve here people at my tables reference him (ad nauseum) and giggle after I mention our rabbit dish, but never do they mention Daffy Duck or Porky Pig or Foghorn Leghorn when they order their dishes of duck or pork or chicken, respectively.

Cute food, it seems, is wholly subjective.

The same people who profess horror at the thought of eating real rabbits do not seem to have a problem eating chocolate or marshmallow likenesses of them. Much thought is often given to which part of the delicacy should be eaten first– the tail? the ears? It seems to me that it is one, short step from eating an effigy of something to eating the thing itself. (Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s something else to think about. I mean, do vegetarians eat marshmallow peeps? It’s just a question.)

I made that leap myself years ago. If you have no issues with consuming animal protein, I invite you now to join me in a little rabbit stew.

And while we’re eating, perhaps you could next explain to me why it is that most people recoil in horror at the site of a rat minding its own business, yet squeal with delight whenever a squirrel rips a salted peanut out of their hand?

Oh, right. It’s all about cute.

Hasenpfeffer with Bacon-Chive Spätzle

Hasenpfeffer

When researching Hasenpfeffer, I discovered that there seemed to be no two recipes that were alike. This doesn’t surprise me given the fact that, for most of its history, Germany was little more than a patchwork of kingdoms, principalities, Margraves, and Palatinates. What on earth would lead me to think that Hanoverians, Prussians, Pomeranians, and Bavarians would ever unite over a rabbit dish?

Hasenpfeffer is a stew made from bits of rabbit or hare. Hasen is the German word for rabbit and, of course, explains why there is rabbit in the recipe. Pfeffer, which means “pepper” in the same language, refers to the little bits and pieces of rabbit which can be found in the stew and perhaps explains why there isn’t a preponderance of actual pepper in the recipe. It’s there alright, but not enough to merit a co-starring role.

I’ll just chalk it up to my inability to grasp the nuances of the German language.

Serves 6 to 8 hungry people who are unafraid of eating cute creatures.

This is my own version– a culling of others, with a few added touches of my own. I will never claim this recipe’s authenticity as echt German but, being from Anaheim, which was (unsurprisingly) settled by Germans, I think it might be like some sort of birthright or something to lay claim to my own hasenpfeffer dish. It is a forgiving recipe, allowing for increases in amounts of the various ingredients, according to one’s own tastes.

Ingredients:

Part One: The Marinade

2 rabbits (about 4 pounds), skinned and gutted and otherwise dressed.

1 1/4 cups dry red wine

3 cloves chopped garlic

about 1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Part Two: Stewing The Rabbit

1/3 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting the rabbit

1 to 1 1/4 cups water

1/2 pound bacon (I used Black Forest bacon because it just seemed to make sense.)

1 tablespoon red currant jelly

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

1 bay leaf

A splash or two of apple cider vinegar to taste

Salt and more pepper to taste

A slurry of equal parts flour and water, in case the stew is not thick enough

Part Three: The Spätzle

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (pre-ground works well, too, but not quite as well)

2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature

1/4 cup milk

As much fresh chive as you like, or 2-to-3 tablespoons, chopped

Preparation:

1. In a bowl large enough to accommodate all your rabbit meat, combine red wine, salt, shallots, garlic, and mustard. Whisk to combine well. Rinse rabbit meat. Separate the legs– hind and fore– from the rabbits’ bodies, then divide the carcasses into three or four pieces. Add rabbit to the wine mixture, cover and refrigerate. This can sit in your ice box for up to three days. I recommend letting it sit at least over night.

2. When you are ready to make your hasenpfeffer, fry up your bacon on a medium-high heat until crisp in the largest frying pan, Dutch Oven, or otherwise heavy-bottomed skillet you’ve got. Patience in bacon-frying rewards you with more rendered fat, so go gently. When bacon is done, remove, drain on paper towels, and chop into bits. Leave the bacon fat in the pan.

3. In a large plate or wide, shallow bowl, put your flour. Remove rabbit pieces from marinade, pat dry, and dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Working in two batches, brown the rabbit. If you don’t have enough bacon fat to evenly coat the bottom of your pan, simply add enough olive oil to do so (I told you this was a forgiving recipe.). Strain the marinade, so that you might temporarily liberate the shallots.

4. When all the rabbit has been browned, remove to a plate then add the shallots to the pan. Sauté for three to four minutes to deepen their flavor (they will have virtually disintegrated by the time your stew is finished, so don’t worry about their looks). Add your wine marinate and water to the pan and bring to a boil. Now add your thyme, rosemary, crushed black pepper, and red currant preserves.

5. Add your rabbit pieces to the pan and one half of the chopped bacon. Return to a boil and then back down to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat looks as if it might start falling of the bone, which is pretty much what you want to happen. If you have no proper lid for your largest pan, as I do not, cover well with aluminum foil, or aluminium foil, if you are preparing this dish in Canada.

6. Now here comes the exciting part– the spätzle, which means “little sparrow” in Swabian, in case you didn’t know. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, and pepper. In a separate bowl whisk together the milk and eggs. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gently pour in the egg-milk mixture. Draw in flour from the sides of the well and combine until the dough is smooth and think. Let rest for 10 to fifteen minutes.

7. Bring about 3 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil in a large, wide pot. Reduce to a simmer. To form the spätzle (or, if you prefer, spaetzle), hold either a spoon or colander with large holes over the simmering water (of course, if you had a spätzle press, you’d be using that) and push the dough through the holes with a spatula. Best to do this in 4 to 5 batches– noodles do not take well to over-crowding. Cook each batch for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they float to the surface, as though they were, in fact, little sparrows that had been forcibly drowned and had finally given up on life. Remove the dead sparrows to a colander and let drain.

8. When the stew is ready, remove the rabbit pieces to a warm platter, placing said platter in a warm oven. If the remaining sauce is not as thick as you would like (read: gravy-like consistency) at a little flour/water slurry to firm things up, cooking long enough, of course, to properly cook the flour.

9. At this point, you could either strain the sauce through a sieve to have a smooth sauce, or leave it as is. I vote as is– why get rid of all that bacon and lumpy goodness? It is entirely up to you.

10. Now– and finally– in a separate pan, add your spätzle, and remaining bacon, along with about a half cup (or more to taste) of your rabbit sauce. Toss gently and heat through. Remove the spätzle to the center of a large serving platter and garnish liberally with chopped chives. Arrange the rabbit pieces around the spätzle, pour over as much of the sauce as you like and some more chives, should you find the need for more color.

Proudly serve your guests this platter of dead bunnies and little sparrows with a side of steamed, whole baby carrots. To young children. While they are watching Warner Bros. cartoons. One mights as well make as grand a statement as one can.

***And for those of you curious enough about the lead photo, it is the work of one Nicky Dunbar of Canada. He has spent the past several weeks photographing and otherwise giving life to a gold-wrapped chocolate bunny. It’s a thing he does. I hope he gets around to eating it soon.

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Category: food history and celebrities, recipes

About the Author ()

I am terribly fond of martinis, Edward Gorey, and sleeping with many pillows. You are more than welcome to follow me on Twitter: @procopster
  • Pingback: The Ethics of Eating Bunnies

  • http://www.xanga.com/aromes S Lloyd

    I’ve always thought that I could indulge in devouring whatever kind of meats offered to me, but I was wrong: couple of years ago, in Vietnam, I was offered roasted dog and I just could not eat it. Eventhough those are not pet dogs’s meat that they sell for consumption. Those are dogs specifically breaded for gourmet, but I just could not. But for the rabbit, I have no problem at all especially when it’s stunningly well done.

  • Indigo

    This is an incredibly insensitive and lewd article, I am surprised this didn’t get edited!

  • http://www.chooseveg.com/meet-your-meat.asp Hoss

    What’s weird is that most Americans would never permit cats and dogs to be subjected to painful mutilations without anesthesia, intensive confinement, dismemberment and disembowelment while fully conscious, etc. Yet somehow it’s “okay” to inflict these same cruelties on farmed animals, even though farm animals are just as capable of experiencing suffering and joy.

    As you mention, our schizoid attitudes can’t be attributed simply to differences in “cuteness”. Lambs are cute. Veal calves are cute. Baby chicks are cute. Yet we slaughter them all in staggering numbers — for the trivial reason that we like the taste of animal products. It’s the result of lifelong conditioning that teaches us to ignore the interests of other living, sentient beings by drawing an arbitrary line between “pets” and “food”.

    http://www.chooseveg.com/meet-your-meat.asp

  • RabbitRun

    Excellent piece. Don’t let misguided sentimentalists who still refer to rabbits as “bunnies” persuade you otherwise.

  • KiltBear

    I have pet rabbits. Have had them for 13 years. (Yes, bun-buns can live that long if well taken care of). I’m a member of the House Rabbits Society. Within the last 6 months I have recently switched to a mostly vegetarian diet. Even before dismissing most meat from my diet, I could never eat rabbit.

    All of that said, if you can’t see the the author’s point of the absurdity of singling out rabbits over cute lambs, or adorable cow-eyed, um, cows, then you really need to re-focus. If anything, this article in a perverse-reverse way should help jar people to think on the fact that if they are adverse to eating a cute little bunny, maybe they should rethink eating any other animal.

    There are plenty of other articles on here about eating other livestock, why all the hay over bunnies?

  • Katherine

    It’s silly but understandable to find this topic disgusting. We’re primed to cuddle and nurture cute things. We do eat a lot of cute animals that are kept in horrendous conditions, and slaughtered in a cruel manner. If anyone is disturbed by the idea of eating sweet little rabbits (my favorite animals) they might give some consideration to the other lovely animals they eat for lunch. Vegetarianism is becoming more popular because people are more and more willing to look at the reality of factory farming. Check out farmsanctuary.org or mercyforanimals.org.

  • Annette

    This article, while making a valid point regarding why people think it is okay to eat some cute animals and not others, misses the real point that rabbits like other mammals and birds feel pain, have fear, have feelings and shouldn’t be subjected to today’s slaughterhouse versions of killing animals, which is invariably inhumane and cruel. He makes light of this fact and I find his article overall lacking in any compassion. I am also surprised at KQED.

  • http://thehoppyvegan.blogspot.com Paulette Lincoln-Baker

    Sir, clearly you have never met a rabbit except what was handed to you on a plate or you could not speak so glibly or ignorantly about this wonderful animal. Rabbits serve the best purpose there is in this life–they provide love and companionship and joy to millions of people around the world. That is reason enough not to kill and eat them. I live with 6 rabbits and they are far from pests. They are highly intelligent, easily trained, and ask only for unconditional love.

    I can see only possible positive outcome to this insensitive article–that many people will stop to think about ALL animals they put on their plate and in fact will realize that it should never be just about the cute. Sentient beings should not be killed, period, least of all to serve appetites that can satisfied in healthier ways.

  • http://www.strikingattheroots.com/ Mark Hawthorne

    While I agree that no animal should be singled out for special treatment — there is no reason for humans to eat ANY animal; simply enjoying the taste isn’t a good enough excuse for eating sentient beings — rabbits are among the animals not protected by the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. This means they can be killed in pretty much any fashion the killer wishes, and it’s usually a painful death.

    Rabbits are sensitive, highly intelligent animals who form lifelong bonds with their mates and human companions. They know their names, use a litterbox and feel pain. No, they don’t do tricks. Why should that matter?

    Please visit http://www.hsus.org/farm/news/ournews/rabbit_slaughter.html for more details.

  • http://beaelliott.blogspot.com/ Bea Elliott

    It’s interesting that the author at first reduces rabbits to “pests”… A burden and a penalty achieved through another failed intervention by man. Then he absurdly states that “it is one, short step from eating an effigy of something to eating the thing itself.” But he omits the entire crux of eating any animal… We are not “things”.

    Whether we are “cute” or not – We are sentient beings. We all value our lives equally and ought to have the right to possess that life without the brutal whim of might.

    There is no need to kill any bunny, or lamb or cow. There are too many delicious and healthy alternatives. It’s a shame so many invest so much effort trying to make a thing that is wrong appear to be right. And to do so in such an abusive, arrogant manner is all the more offensive.

    Want to create a better world? Eat like you mean it – Go Vegan
    http://www.nonviolenceunited.org/veganvideo.html

  • http://www.compassion4animals.org Gary Loewenthal

    I don’t eat rabbits for the same reason I don’t eat other animals. I respect their lives and their most profound interests. I have empathy and compassion for them. That’s what we should be teaching kids.

  • Michelle Setaro

    I WOULD NOT SUBJECT A RABBIT NOR ANY OTHER ANIMAL TO UNNECESSARY SUFFERING AND DEATH SIMPLY TO PLEASURE MYSELF. IT IS MORALLY WRONG TO CAUSE THIS KIND OF SUFFERING. AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO JUSTIFICATION FOR KILLING ANIMALS FOR THEIR BODY PARTS. This article is obscene and disturbing and barbaric.

  • Jan Geren

    This article is so ignorant. I have 3 house rabbits who are intelligent, playful, clean , loving and beautiful. Australia brought rabbits from Europe to their country, that is not their normal habitat and then they claim they are pests? Then they created horrible diseases like myxamatosis (which has spread to the USA and elsewhere) to eradicate them, who is the intelligent one here? I think you need to study a little history.
    Read the real story about the Rabbit, The Private Life of the Rabbit, they are creatures that have families, bond with each other, just as human life. What pray tell is the purpose humans serve here besides pollution, eating, defecating and dying?

  • Pat Cuviello

    Michael Procopio thinks “that it is one, short step from eating an effigy of something to eating the thing itself.” If Mr. Procopio has ever eaten a gingerbread man we better all watch out he may be willing to lop off our heads soon enough.

  • Alison

    Your comment that rabbits “don’t do tricks”… just goes to show how little you know about them. Here is a video of me training my bunny, Bernie, to do tricks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRJW8Esej7I
    I’ve also trained my dogs to do agility, and I have to say, my bunny learned it faster. Rabbits are intelligent and affectionate… unlike you, obviously.

  • Kathy

    This article is so completely ridiculous, I don’t know where to begin. I suppose Procopio does (unwittingly) manage to point out the illogical nature of the discrepancy between people’s compassion and their willingness to eat certain animals. Our very language has become so removed from what it is people are actually eating; cows are beef, pigs are pork and bacon, and people flinch if you ask them if they eat “chickens” instead of “chicken.” Animals exist for their own purposes that have absolutely nothing to do with human beings. There’s enough garbage in the media without KQED joining in and promoting articles for their “shock value.”

  • http://michaelprocopio.wordpress.com/ Michael Procopio

    Well, okay then.

    First off, I am sending out my apologies to Alison (and Paulette and Kilt Bear and rabbit lovers everywhere), who has informed me that rabbits can, in fact, do tricks. And what’s more, I happen to find her rabbit adorable. The necessary adjustment to this post has been made. I had a great love for my pet rat Socrates as a boy. He could do tricks, too. It was wrong of me to not account for the pleasure that other rodents might give people.

    But, to quote Kilt Bear, “Why all the hay over bunnies?”

    I suppose I’ve been a bit rough on the precious little lagomorphs. I was simply using them as an example– one specifically from my own experience. And, since I am running on the assumption that rabbits do not read food blogs (Alison, please correct me if I am wrong and I will make the necessary changes), I figured that no rabbit would be terribly offended by what I had to say. It’s the humans one has to watch out for.

    Kilt Bear– you hit the nail on the head. The question here– what I was really wondering about– is why is it okay for some people to eat certain cute things and not others?

    Whether or not it is ethical to eat animal flesh is, while not at all irrelevant, NOT the question. Though I think that Kilt Bear is correct in saying if people “are averse to eating a cute little bunny, maybe they should rethink eating any other animal.” Amen. The whole point of this bit of (what I thought at the time was) fun was to get people to think about the subjectivity of their meat eating.

    S Lloyd mirrors my own issues on the matter by sharing the feeling of discomfort when offered roasted dog. As a dog lover, I could never eat a one much in the same way rabbit lovers could never eat rabbit or horse lovers horse. Is it hypocritical? I am not sure. I just wanted people to think a bit more about why it’s okay (for them specifically) to eat some animals and not others. I mean really: Pets or food?

    If my suggestion to serve a rabbit stew to small children as they watch Warner Bros. cartoons in the background is offensive to some, it was meant as a joke, and so it shall remain.

    I don’t eat a lot of meat these days myself, but I do not shy away from it. It is my personal choice– part economic, part ethical. I am mindful of where my food comes from and choose not to buy factory-farmed animal proteins. Apart from being exceptionally unkind to snails as a small child, I have never engaged in animal cruelty, nor would I ever advocate any such behavior. To say otherwise about me isn’t exactly fair. In fact, it’s just plain untrue. I am, however, used to sniping. I’m a blogger, after all.

    Oh, and while I’m still at it, here’s a well-written plea I can identify with that someone just sent me. It’s by Craig Goldwyn over at Huffington Post’s food section:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-goldwyn/vegans-starting-to-sound_b_537604.html

  • Gina Farr

    The author is unbearably snide. What a pathetic creep! Agreeing with other posters, this article does more for not eating any kind of animal, cute or otherwise. What is the author’s point exactly – that cruelty and gluttony make a great sauce? KQED, wow; guess you don’t want my donations dollars.

  • http://piequeen.blogspot.com Stephanie Rosenbaum

    Isn’t it interesting that this post, about eating cute lil’ bunnies (who are DELICIOUS, by the way) has generated so many irate posts, while Thursday’s post reviewing Trueburger–a restaurant selling the meat of cute lil’ COWS–has gotten only a few responses, all debating the yum-or-not of the tasty burgers? Seems that Michael’s point–that we have more issues with eating animals when they’re cuddly and cute–is made.

  • Alison

    Thank you, Michael, for changing the statement in your blog about bunnies not doing tricks! At least we got that bit straightened out. As for bunnies reading blogs, well, I guess I have to correct you on that, too. My bunny Bernie came across your article and was horrified, especially at the photo of the raw dead rabbit. If you need proof, here’s a photo of him reading your blog:
    http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8IYtGLVm4ZKWcA

    In all seriousness, though, I’d like to respond to your question regarding the aversion to rabbit as food. My aversion has nothing to do with the fact that they are “cute.” My issue with it is that rabbit is the only COMMON pet in this country that is also found on the menu. And despite the fact that rabbits’ popularity as pets is growing, their popularity as gourmet food seems to be growing just as fast, and that mystifies me. The idea of eating rabbit is just as disturbing to me as eating cat or dog would be, and I assure you… this was the case even before I had rabbits as pets, and before I was a vegetarian. I often eat at upscale restaurants, but those are the ones that often serve rabbit (at least in the area where I live), and it’s getting to the point that I’m afraid to open the menu anymore.

    And what many people don’t realize is that the rabbits that are raised to be food are NOT wild rabbits… they are DOMESTIC rabbits… the same rabbits people have as pets.

    We all have to decide where to draw the line on what meat we eat, if any, and there is no way we will ever all agree where that line should be drawn. However, it’s clear to me that companion animals (pets) should be on the “non-food” side of that line for EVERYONE, and it would make Bernie very happy to see restaurants such as the one you work for stop offering his relatives as a menu selection.

    Thank you again for reading my comments, and adjusting your blog. And I would like to add that I think you are a very good writer, even if I don’t much care for some of the things you say. But really, that photo of the dead rabbit really needs to go!

  • http://www.hsus.org/farm/news/ournews/rabbit_slaughter.html Janet Weeks

    Obviously, the author thinks he is witty and that his piece is clever or somehow humorous but, alas, he is sadly mistaken as is evident by the majority of people who found his “Eating Cute” decidedly NOT cute. There is absolutely nothing funny about the suffering of others. Killing rabbits or any other animal causes them to suffer and that’s nothing to joke about.

    Mr. Procopio says, “I don’t eat a lot of meat these days myself, but I do not shy away from it. It is my personal choice– part economic, part ethical.” I wish he would explain what he means by “part ethical”? Is he part ethical when he chooses not to eat an animal? What happens when he eats one? Is he ethical today–not so much tomorrow? That doesn’t sound very ethical to me. Being ethical means being consistent and ever mindful of your choices. Better luck next time–this piece was a dud.

  • Kim Flaherty

    So very sad and depressing to read about ANY type of animal, considered “cute” or otherwise, being reduced in value based on whether they can do tricks or not. What a painful reminder of how disconnected so many people are from the rich inner lives and beauty of non-human animals.

    As a vegan (and this is why: http://www.earthlings.com/ ), I’m proud not to contribute to the enslavement, cruelty, and suffering of billions of animals just so my taste buds can be satisfied. Animals have every right to engage in natural behaviors and experience all the wonders of the natural world that we do. They are not here to be exploited, used and killed by us. They are not here to be butchered up, cooked, eaten and their dead bodies displayed for food blogs.

    As far as the Huffington Post piece that Mr. Procopio posted, this is one of my favorite comments in response to that:

    “Actually, the ones who sound like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh are the meat-eaters who comment on the articles about veganism or environmentally friendly diets, (i.e., veganism or vegetarianism), because they do not base their comments on logic, ethics or science, but merely personal taste preferences. People who espouse veganism for ethical, health or environmental reasons are not going to sit idly by why you post articles about meat-eating. In your own words -GET USED TO IT.”

    Lastly, most chickens aren’t considered “cute,” much less “beautiful,” but this mother hen and her chick couldn’t more perfectly embody the marvel and beauty of life: http://vimeo.com/10770397

  • http://www.grinningidiot.com Jay Floyd

    This article was extremely funny. The comments range from beyond-the-pail idiocy to sanctimonious blather. I so wish the energy spent railing against ‘eating bunnies’ was being channeled toward human problems instead. Shut the f**k up about rabbits and chain yourself to the Goldman Sachs building for God’s own sake. People eat meat, so do animals. And don’t come at me with that ‘but people have choice’ crap — judging from the tone expressed so often above, animals must have a choice, too. They’re sentient beings, after all. Many of them choose meat.

    Please, Michael, make your next post about how to eat a vegan with a side dish of anti-smoking lobbyists. Please?

  • http://www.knowthankyou.com Rob

    Interesting perspective. To take the author’s point of view just one step further, if his justification for eating rabbits then is that “they are more than often pests” we should clearly then be looking at the animal that has caused more destruction to this planet than any other: the human being. Perhaps the author can also make “part economic, part ethical” justification for reducing numbers of such a dangerous and destructive animal. I wonder which part of a human he would eat first? “Cute food, it seems, is wholly subjective.” If he finds some kind of objection to eating a remarkably destructive pest like a human, even given his “part economic, part ethical” justification, he should now ask himself to define the difference between various animals’ right to life or death, and to justify his position as the decision maker.

  • Kat Rivas

    @kiltbear – One of the differences in eating rabbit over cute lambs or cows (neither which would ever enter this writer’s mouth, nor any other animal for that matter), is that the rabbit is the only 4 legged animal living in over 1.5 million households. I’m sure there may be someone keeping lambs in the house, certainly I’ve known a few to keep potbellied pigs but rabbits have become the 3rd most popular mammalian pet to live with us in our houses. They are the third most numerous pet turned into shelters. I’ve heard breeders say there is no rabbit overpopulation, all those at shelter should be turned into food for the homeless. Going with this line of thought, shouldn’t we then use the much more numerous dogs and cats who are euthanized every year? The sad fact is, we have far too much meat to eat and it is killing the nation. Why add yet another animal? Where is the line drawn? Many of today’s ills in the world come from man’s continued consumption and misuse of animals; think SARS, H1N1, BSE (Mad Cow). I’ll end with a quote from Mark Twain “It is just like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.”

  • http://www.wineaspects.com Julia

    Thank you for a great recipe!

  • Janessa Martin

    This article shows the true disconnect so many people have become accustomed to. I see this author has succumbed to this learned ignorance. Here’s a tip: step out of your ignorant shell and see the world for what it should be; a beautiful ecosystem that humans have come to destroy. Your disgraceful attitude IS the downfall of this once beautiful world and I hope one day you can see the world from a moral perspective. If not- I only hope immoral promoters like you end up like those defenseless rabbits. You deserve it.

  • V

    I have so many many problems with this blogger, his attitude, and the way he’s trying to make his point it’s not even funny. But most of my feelings have already been represented in other people’s comments – including the fact that the hypocritical way that people eat one species and not another is worth discussing, but the blogger’s execution of that discussion is insensitive and arrogant.

    So the two notes I will make are (because if you want to have some smidgen of credibility at least get your frickin facts straight):
    1. Rabbits are not rodents. They are, as is mentioned, in the order Lagomorpha, but ONLY in the order Lagomorpha.
    2. No, vegetarians do not eat marshmallow peeps – because they are made with gelatin, an animal product, NOT because they are shaped like bunnies and chicks.

  • http://michaelprocopio.wordpress.com/ Michael Procopio

    Oh, Janessa…

    “Step out of my ignorant shell and see the world for what it should be; a beautiful ecosystem that humans have come to destroy.”? Are you telling me that this is how things should be: human beings should destroy the beautiful ecosystem that is the world? Or are you merely saying that the truth is one, big “should”? And your particular brand of “should”, at that?

    The world, with all its myriad problems, has always been troubled and it has always been beautiful. Humans are certainly the cause of most of the trouble, but would you really have it any other way? Humanless, perhaps? Remember, that would mean you, too.

    And, as for your hope that I can one day see the world from a moral perspective, I would like to remind you that I am not the one advocating that people be stewed in red wine and red currant jelly…

    Janessa, you drip charm and logic as the honeybees we immoral human beings enslave drip honey.

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/27/business/27bees.html Janet Weeks

    Not only does man enslave honeybees to steal their honey, they kill them off with their damned pesticides and by destroying their fragile habitats. I’m with Janessa one hundred percent. Man in his arrogance will pillage and burn, rape and destroy, abuse and exploit everything in his path until there is nothing left–no beauty, no animals, no compassion, no love, no nothing–except a bunch of blubbering naked human apes blinking bewilderingly and wondering what the hell happened. Is man that stupid? He is surely that arrogant.

  • Faye

    Vegetarians normally don’t eat marshmallow peeps because they are almost pure gelatin. For the same reason, they avoid jell-o and marshmallows.

  • Terence

    I know I’m a bit late to the conversation, but as someone who has lived both in the US and overseas, I really must say that for some their is now option of becoming a vegan. Not everybody can afford suppliments and all of the trendy stuff some of the people here probably eat as part of their diets. People in Asia (China for example) eat rabbits because they’re cheap, and easy to raise. A whole, roasted rabbit costs about 14 RMB (about 2 US dollars), and provides a great deal of protien. A live rabbit costs about 3 RMB a week to feed, and they produce a great deal of young who are similarly cheap to raise. It would seem that many of you are implying that they are savages for doing so. If it were a matter of feeding and keeping your children healthy in the circumstances that they must do it in, how would you cope?

    I’ve grown up with a pet dog and a cat, and although I was somewhat uncomfortable eating dog and cat while overseas, I certainly couldn’t condemn them for eating it. Some of the outraged rabbit owners need to take some time to reflect on themselves, and their attitudes before judging others. Nobody is holding a gun to your collective heads and making you eat rabbit.

  • http://beaelliott.blogspot.com/ Bea Elliott

    @Terence – But this article was not directed to people in third world countries – Or to people who had little to no other food choices. The article gives the impression of a “posh” dining experience. Indeed most of us reading and responding on this post spend well over $2.00 a day just on internet connections… The crux is – It is best not to cause unnecessary harm to living beings, being they “cute” or not – Stop trying to reach halfway around the (impoverished) globe to justify frivolous acts in the here and now.

  • Bibigallini

    I am vegan, so I share many of the views expressed by people on here already. But, I must say, we are fewer than meat-eaters in this world and we can’t expect everyone to share our beliefs. That said, I totally agree with this article. If you’re going to eat meat, why stop at rabbits? I know people who say “I eat meat, but I don’t eat the babies” as if that somehow absolves them of guilt. A 3-year old rabbit and a 3-year old cow have both lived the same length of time, what’s the difference? Cute. That’s it. I did it. Back when I was a meat eater I used to say that I didn’t eat anything cute. I thought I was funny. Now that I don’t eat meat, I have a much different relationship to animals, be they large or small, land dweller or sea creature, I find them all adorable. I even quit killing spiders. But I finally resolved the weird, hypocritical relationship we have with animals in our culture. There are so many of us on this planet who haven’t. If I had my way, no one would eat any living creature. But, unfortunately, I don’t get my way and we live in a culture where cute rules. I think it’s a very enlightened point of view for a carnivore and I applaud Mr. Procopio for starting the discussion.

  • V

    Terence – Eating vegan is not automatically expensive – in fact it’s a lot cheaper on the whole. Legumes, rice, and vegetables are way cheaper than meat. And you can obtain complete protein from carb/legume/nut/seed combinations or by eating things like quinoa. Do a little research before posting false statements. Many impoverished communities around the world eat a vegetarian diet. Look at India, where lentils, peas, rice, and vegetables rule. And as for supplements, for those people who can afford it – both vegans and non-vegans take them – both can have deficiencies that they may feel a need to address. And many supplements are not vegan or even vegetarian (they include gelatin, magnesium stearate, D3, non-veg b12), which just shows they are intended for omnivores. I agree with Bea Elliott: stop trying to use under-informed or just plain false reasoning to justify the taking of a life for the sake of a moment’s culinary “enjoyment” or assumed “need.”