Suddenly, a number of people are trying to make a big deal out of a statement Barack Obama made in his book about his eating dog meat when he was a boy in Indonesia.
I’m not a fan of Obama and in fact, I can’t really think of any one thing I really like about the man, but I just don’t know what the big deal is about his eating dog. If anyone has spent any time in Southeast Asia, especially Viet Nam, you will find that there are thousands and probably millions of people that eat dog.
A friend of mine lived in Los Angeles and use to complain about all of the stray dogs and cats that roamed the neighborhood. A few years later, he noticed that there were virtually no strays in the neighborhood and made a comment to one of his neighbors. The said that he had seen several Vietnamese families that had moved into the neighborhood setting traps in the allies and that they were eating whatever they caught.
I was curious if this was true or not so I asked a Vietnamese co-worker if some of the people from his country dined on stray cats and dogs and he said that many do and in fact his family does also. He told me that back in Viet Nam they are just another food source, especially when so many people are struggling to feed their families.
Americans cringe at the thought of eating Fido or Fluffy or any other pet for that matter, and they have become very squeamish about what other things they’ll eat. Years ago, horse meat was not uncommon, but animal rights people launched such a negative campaign that the government actually made it illegal to serve or sell horse meat for human consumption. I grew up with horses and have eaten horse meat on many occasions and have to say that it is very tasty. In fact, I’ve served horse meat to others who complimented me on the great beef I cooked for them. Little did they know that it was horse and not beef.
On occasion I’ve watched programs on television that show the different food customs in other countries. I’ve seen people eating live baby octopus, all kinds of worms and bugs, along with spiders, scorpions and, oh yeah, one of my favorites was a Southeast Asian delicacy of live monkey brains. In some parts of South America people raise guinea pigs not as pets but for food.
But tell me how someone can be so squeamish about eating cooked horse or dog meat and then turn around and go to a sushi or sashimi bar and pay good money to eat raw fish. Then you also have some people that go to an expensive restaurant and eat raw slimy oysters.
As much as I hate to defend anything about Obama, I have to defend him on what he ate as a kid, especially in lieu of the things I’ve eaten. I grew up with the philosophy that I’ll try anything once and often have, especially in my younger days. While still a teenager, I was a certified desert survival instructor in the great southwest. Learning to survive in the desert means you eat things like snakes (I’ve eaten many snakes and it all depends on how you cook it on whether or not it tastes like chicken or fish). I’ve eaten lizards, various desert rats and mice, scorpions, tarantulas, rabbits, bobcat, deer, elk, coyote, bear, quail, doves, pigeons, crow (the worst tasting bird I’ve ever had, but I truly know what it means to ‘eat crow’), turkeys, squirrels, raccoons, opossum, muskrat, frogs, grasshoppers, crickets, earthworms and one of my favorites is the grub of a beetle that feeds inside palo verde trees. There are probably a number of things that I forgot about, but I think you get the idea.
So before you condemn Obama for eating dog, think about some of the things you eat that are repulsive to others such as any kind of pork as that is repulsive to Muslims and others living in the Middle East. After all, there are hundreds of more worthwhile things to condemn Obama about than something he ate as a kid.