A lot of people don’t realize that in Imperial China the rules of penology and of gastronomy were intertwined. As more Western notions of juris prudence have come into fashion, some of the most delicious dishes of the Ch’ing dynasty table have fallen from use. These include:
Criminal Ears with Black-Bean Sauce
Grandfather and Father and Son Re-Union
Embezzler with Oyster Mushrooms and Hoisin Sauce.
At the Long Pig Society the topic was raised — how can we enjoy these delicacies in the modern world? Some suggested taking a leaf from the playbook of our VEGETARIAN friends, who, because of ethical qualms at the consumption of animal flesh, choose to instead enjoy simulacra of such popular dishes as
made with such vegetable ingredients as TEMPEH, WHEAT GLUTEN and TOFU.
Some suggested therefore that we could enjoy a Manchu delicacy like
“FORGER FINGERS WITH WALNUTS AND HONEY”
by eating “FAUX-FORGER FINGERS” made of tofu.
But the meeting then broke up in a raucous debate on the following issue:
would the proper analogy to ethically-acceptable FORGER FINGERS truly be FORGER FINGERS made of vegetable?
Or would it be such fingers (or ears or liver) made of ANIMAL PROTEIN?
On the theory that just as the vegetarian substitutes one step down – vegetable for animal — so the tender-hearted gourmand with a qualm against ANTHROPOPHAGY would substitute BEEF for HUMAN?
OR would the correct version of these criminal-based dishes be using the meat of someone who was not a criminal, who died of natural causes?
So that instead of eating “MOO-SHOO TRAITOR TO THE EMPEROR”
we could enjoy “MOO-SHOO GUY WHO DIED IN A MOTORCYCLE CRASH”?
We can only hope that the best minds in higher ethics and haute cuisine put their heads together soon so we may soon enjoy these delicious repasts!