Stupid Tuesday questions, au jus edition

I had a little bit of writer’s block this week.

As inane as I will readily admit most of my random musings are throughout any given week, sometimes I go for a stretch where nothing seems like a good basis for a Stupid Question. Sometimes I will go ahead and ask something sincere, but even that recourse failed me this week. I had some ideas stored up, but none of them moved me much.

So I took to Twitter. There my good friend and beloved Ordinary Kyle made a suggestion.

[Brief aside: it is a remarkable thing, this Internet. I have never actually had the pleasure of meeting Kyle, and yet I quite sincerely consider him (and many others associated with this online community) a friend. That he probably thinks of me as a pestering nuisance is beside the point.]

Anyhow, Kyle’s suggestion:


Now, I had some reservations about this. As I replied to Kyle, talking about the circumstances under which people might consider noshing on each other seemed like it might veer rather dark. And I like my Stupid Questions to be both idiotic and lighthearted.

However, the resulting conversation between Kyle and fellow Ordinary Jason about how they would prefer to prepare and serve their fellow hominids won me over. (Jason would want a nice ketchup to go with it.)

So that’s this week’s Question. I’m going to modify Kyle’s initial suggestion a bit to up the silliness quotient, and make it a given that eating another human being in this bizarre alternate universe is somehow OK, and that you’re doing so for reasons other than sheer desperation and thus have recourse to a well-stocked pantry. How would you serve ’em up? You get to write a new ending to “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.” (That movie came out a billion years ago, and it’s so weird you were  probably never going to watch it anyway, so spare me complaints about spoilers.) What pages would you lift from “To Serve Man“?

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59 thoughts on “Stupid Tuesday questions, au jus edition

  1. At the risk of being called an appetitist: yuck.

    If I have to do it, there’s only one way to go: sausage. That seems to work for all kinds of things that I eat that I would gag on if I could see more clearly what it was I was eating.


  2. Jerky. Now made from real jerks!

    Seriously, I don’t know enough about human anatomy to really answer this question. If human meat tends toward the tougher end of the scale, we’re going to have to smoke it. It does not hurt that well made barbecue is delicious. If it is well marbled and succulent, than we’re probably going with steaks, cooked rared, with just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
    ‘s suggestion of sausage is a relatively safe one… though the litany of sophomoric phallic jokes that would likely ensue might be more than I can swallow.


  3. Any dish that’s appropriate for pork would do.

    So a slow braise in milk bolognese-style would be nice. And given the particulars, it would, of course, have to be human milk.

    And of course, the link goes to Martha Stewart’s recipe (there are better) because she’d be a tasteful addition to the menu.


  4. This is reminding me of a similar conversation I once had with one of our guest bloggers, Boris Lutskovsky (who wrote about what it’s like to be Ukrainian). He and others he was in chef school with had apparently given this a lot of thought, and he had a series of potential radishes whose ecipes whose very presses detail were surprisingly… precise.


  5. With regard to Kyle’s original question… I recently watched the TV show Siberia. Without going too deep in the plot, it involves a scenario where food is a Very Serious Problem. I was surprised how quickly my mind turned to cannibalism as a viable form of sustenance. The characters didn’t go there, but I did. I’m not sure what to make of that. I prefer “utilitarian” over alternative, more unflattering, descriptions.


  6. The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, and her Lover, was indeed a very weird movie. I hadn’t thought about that one in a long time.

    I still remember this verse of a song a friend of mine improvised back in highschool. The song was appropriately titled “Would you butcher me for meat?”

    What if we were trapped in a plane and it was really cold outside,
    and all of the Brazilian rugby players who were with us had died?
    We’d eaten all of their meat, right down to to the bone.
    There was nobody with us then, we were all alone

    Would you butcher me for meat?

    Anyway, I guess it would depend on the person – a tough, stringy construction worker who runs marathons as a hobby, I’d stew, maybe with split peas and carrots. The big leg muscles go well slow roasted and served with Carolina barbecue sauce. A soft office worker with sedentary hobbies, perhaps as steaks or stir-fried with greens, mushrooms, and chilies.


  7. On the one hand, it would be very, very rich meat. On the other, it’s supposed to be most similar to pork. So… I’m thinking roasted at least medium after a dry rub with sage, and served with a brown mushroom sauce. And the obligatory fava beans.


    • A certified/certifiably organic human would probably be really hard to find – they’d have to have had nothing to eat that wasn’t organic – in Canada, not only since their birth, but beginning in the third trimester of their mother’s pregnancy. A mother who used hormonal birth control at any point would possibly forever make her offspring non-organic. Etc…


  8. So I’m trying to decide if I’d rather be a cannibal or eat a can of bull. (Well, it may be old cow.)

    And if I managed to hunt down the dude who just offered me a $2.9 million bank transfer from the Ghana Dept. of Minerals for dinner, am I serving Spam?

    /ba da dump.

    I no longer recall the title or author, but I long ago read a sci-fi book, culture on another planet where everything that grew was a little bit toxic to the human settlers. So they were cannibals, eating one another after death, as part of the death rights. (blech.) Anyway, the only thing I really remember about the book was the weird religion this lead to, where other humans were ‘sacred’ foods, and the native flora and fauna was ‘profane.’


  9. You didn’t mention Delicatessen, surely the greatest fictional movie about cannibalism ever made.

    In the non-fiction department, I remember in middle school years reading in National Geographic that one way used by actual cannibals to prepare human was to chop off the hands and broil them slowly so that the fingers curled up and juices collected in the palms. It sounded delicious!

    So, I think that suggests how I’d have to go in this guilt-free universe: A good, old-fashioned long-pig pickin’, slowly roasted over applewood or mesquite coals. I think I’d go with one of Jason’s ketchups rather than sticky-sweet BBQ sauce, though, or just plain Tabasco sauce.


  10. Out of curiosity I’ve read that cannibalism is really really bad for humans. We’re evolved to respond extremely poorly to eating human flesh in the near to moderate term.


    • Overall, even cannibalistic societies don’t eat much human as a portion of their diet.
      You have endocannibalism, where you may be eating your dead dad (which, understandably, doesn’t happen often) — or exocannibalism, where you are eating other people’s dead fallen in combat.

      The main concern appears to be passing on diseases (including prions).


    • I recall from the movie “The Book of Eli”, in which the telltale of frequent consumption of human flesh was a hand tremor. Any of you M.D.s have a line on that other than possible prion disease?


  11. I’d hack off a leg and cure it country ham style. Give it two years and it would be perfect. Or is this a ‘do it quick before you starve to death’ situation? In that case then I’m wondering if the backstrap is just as delicious on humans as it is on most other creatures (for the un-initiated this is the meat that resides on both side of the spine and is generally the most delicious.

    As an aside, my wife is generally appalled that one of my favorite interactions with our dogs is to grab their legs and tell them, “If we were lost in the wilderness this is the part I would eat first.”


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