With food shortages and famine encroaching on civilization it should come as no surprise that alternative food sources will gain more popularity as necessity dictates. The ‘junk’ fish people use to discard will find its way onto the frying pan by thankful and starving anglers in the near future. Bones will become the mainstay rather than Fido’s Scooby Treats; hmm Fido will look pretty tasty as well. The 3-Day Chicken will become commonplace once again provided there are chickens. But when things get dicey and sustenance becomes nonexistent, for a host of catastrophic reasons, the dead guy lying next to you may very well hold the key to your existence. Welcome to the dark side of survival, where a person is forced to lift a fork and consume a fellow human being in the age old culinary adventure called cannibalism. Guess a person could use chop sticks or a piece of fry bread if they chose to.
Granted this is a very taboo subject and totally unacceptable under most conditions but there are times when dining on others is permissible. Throughout the ages people have been placed in situations where they either died along side others or ate from the flesh of the dead. It was once said that Columbus cut and quartered plump native kids then pickled them in wood casks for his first return trip from the ‘New World’. The Donner Party as well as Al Packer comes to mind in American cannibal lore. An old sailor once told me about an unwritten maritime law where it was OK when stranded in a lifeboat to eat a fellow crewman if they expired before you. The Andes Flight Disaster of Oct. 13 1972 where a Uruguayan airplane crashed in the Andes with a soccer team onboard was a classic case for cannibalism and survival. So please bear in mind that the situation must be extreme before people are added to the menu. And in no way am I condoning human flesh as ‘the other white meat’. Personally I prefer legs and thighs, dark meat please.
Let’s say that you and a group of your friends and family survived the time of change and dodged all the bullets man and nature tossed your way. You’ve built a compound with all the amenities your group needs such as living quarters, kitchen and crapper. Reverting to hunter gatherer techniques the hunters would go out in quest of food for the newly evolving clan. Others would scavenge through the ruins of civilization for just about anything useful to bring back to camp. Building materials, clothing, food and other items would be collected as the budding community grows. Eventually anything that was good would be picked through and all the food stuffs would be gathered. Weeks would pass into months then one day the hunters report that the wild game is disappearing.
As time progresses, the hunters come back empty handed more and more. Food stuffs gathered from the ruins of civilization become depleted and the villagers are getting hungry. Daily, people begin to sicken as starvation and disease sets in. First it’s the elderly then the children start to die. The healthiest people begin to succumb from the pangs of starvation as well. Then a bulb lights up in your head, “Why don’t we eat Uncle Otis? After all, he’s dead anyway.” In all reality there would be allot of soul searching before a fork touched Uncle Otis since it’s not normal to eat people, let alone a relative. Whence all the tears were shed and you made your peace with the Creator it’s time to prepare supper. Where would a person start when it came to eating human flesh? And where is Andrew Zimmern (Bazaar Foods, TLC) when you need him?
Long Pork (LP) has been slang for human meat since time immemorial. Interestingly enough human meat or LP has also been treated like pork since it must be well cooked before consuming. So now you have Uncle Otis on the chopping block. The first thing you should do is to dress him out. No, I don’t mean only take his cloths off but to remove the skin and the internal organs then save. Remove the skinned head and place with organs and skin in bucket. Be careful not to tear or puncture the stomach or intestines since the contents can taint the meat. At this time you should check the liver for spots since that would tell you if the meat is diseased or not. Hopefully Uncle Otis was healthy, other than the fact he starved to death. It is a sure bet he will not have much fat on him. Lean is good since triglycerides and serum cholesterol would still be an issue for some folks. LP is greasy and filled with antibiotics, growth hormones and other nasty chemicals that is in their feed so beware because human is also not Kosher or Halal.
LP would provide needed protein for survival in the form of chops and steaks. The back strap would be small but offer tender cuts of meat. Ribs are ribs and neck bone makes good soup. But if you had a grinder burger would be a good way to deal with other odd cuts of meat a human carcass would glean. With that in mind cleaning the intestines would be an excellent idea since you would be able to make sausage also. Hopefully you would have an abundance of salt to preserve your culinary bounty. If not, then it would behoove you to smoke all the meat for preservation sake. There is debate in some circles as to whether red or white wine should be served with LP. In this instance its rule of thumb that red wine should be served since in all actuality LP is a red meat. A vintage Cabernet Sauvignon would be nice. Side dishes are subject to tastes but if you had side dishes in the first place Uncle Otis would not be on the table. Spices are spices so season to taste and hopefully you packed a couple bottles of garlic salt in your survival pack. Just remember to cook until well done because LP may get you sick if served under cooked like other pork products.
There are other factors to consider as well. Is there water handy? If not and there is no possibility of finding any, you will soon be dead along side Uncle Otis within a week or so even if you drank his urine and blood. Thirst would trump hunger as dehydration turned your flesh into jerky. Delirium would set in well before you ever got hungry enough to stick a fork into Uncle Otis. Madness would ensue as your system shut down. Death would become your liberator. Worse yet, you are captured by others that enjoy the taste of LP who promptly tosses you on a make shift rotisserie. No salt, no pepper, not even a sprig of parsley. You are roasted alive without a hint of seasoning. How barbaric could it possibly be? Just to add insult to injury your captures would dine on your char broiled essence while drinking a poor quality pilsner beer. Have they no shame?
Seasoned or unseasoned there is no question that cannibalism is on the rise around the world. Starvation leads to desperation and cannibalism has taken on a new dimension in this era. Ritualistic cannibalism has gone off the charts as well. This is more ghoulishly macabre by design since it’s not about consuming human flesh for survival; it’s more about consuming people because you like it or some bonehead spirit told you to. The consumption of human fetuses for ritual or virility in stews and stir-fry crosses all continents. The scent of placenta soup still wafts in the air of some old world communities after a child is born. Would feeding fat Burmese babies to leeches in vats of water be considered a form of cannibalism if people ate the leeches?
One such restaurant in Thailand specialized in meals prepared with leeches. Burmese soldiers sell infants to Thai human traffickers who in turn sell plump healthy infants to restaurateurs. The restaurateurs fatten up the child then placed them in vats so the leeches can suck the rich milk fed blood from the infant’s veins. The leeches would get fat and juicy then the chef would pluck one out of the baby/water mixture and into a wok filled with spices, vegetables and shrimp paste. To the joy of exotic food aficionados their dining experience would be complete with a piping hot plate of steamed rice and succulent leeches in its own sauce. The leeches would be semi sweet from milk fat yet maintain their musky and savory leech flavor through the ginger onions, garlic and tamarind. So back to my moral dilemma, if the leeches are full of human baby blood when they are cooked and served would the person who ate the leeches be a cannibal? Would the diner be more of a cannibal if they knowingly ate leeches filled with baby blood? It is alleged General Than Shwe of Burma has taken part in sacrificial rituals involving the consumption of human flesh on more than one occasion. Ritual murder and cannibalism has become a military terror tactic for this criminal regime as well. Shwe is not the only one who practices this dark ritual, not by a long shot. Supermodel Naomi “Blood Diamonds” Campbell’s sweetie, Charles Taylor of Liberia comes to mind though I doubt Shwe or Taylor dined on leeches filled with baby blood.
If it were not for the fact I heard these eyewitness accounts from Christian missionaries and Karen refugees I would not have fathomed this reality. But after visiting and interviewing the survivors of Burma’s blood soaked regime it became clear torture and death was an excepted part of their normality. The only way to cope with the vivid images of gore from disemboweled bodies hung along pathways or to witness loved ones being butchered to death by a crowd of laughing sadistic soldiers is to raise the bar in what is perceived as sane. If not, a person would surely go mad from all the cruelty they endure. Many of my Asian friends barely raise an eye brow during at bloody western horror movie. In reality they experienced much worse from barbaric soldiers before they came to America. Ritual cannibalism committed by Burmese soldiers was not a surprise revelation. In fact ritual cannibalism is more common than people think and it’s being performed on every continent, well maybe not Antarctica. From India and the followers of Kali to the USA and the secret sects that roam the countryside, LP is on the menu. Maybe next time someone offers you some home made blood sausage you’ll think twice. Toss in a Kaiser roll some sour kraut and mustard, oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
In closing, eating people is not cool, generally speaking. Under the right conditions having a filet of Fred or a side of Sidney can save your life in the most extreme of conditions. If you have to eat Uncle Otis the right seasoning and preparation will make the most of your cannibalistic culinary adventure. After all, it’s not your fault you are starving to death. So make the best out of a bad situation with a Cotesdeporc Charcutiere au Otis and a wine of your choosing. Just so you know, eating your neighbors is illegal in most Canadian Provinces though I am not sure about Quebec. It is anybody’s guess in America since politicians are known to eat their young. But if for some reason your fridge is packed with LP chops and steaks now, you may be in need of an attorney. Ritual, fetish or simply because you enjoy the taste of human flesh is no excuse for cannibalism. The exception to the rule is if you’re one of the forgotten millions of homeless and starving people around the globe, bon appétit.
Your Devil’s Advocate