Taboo food

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Chtipays, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. Chtipays Senior Member

    Mexico, Spanish
    Is there any taboo food in your country?
    I cannot think on any taboo food in México in the general population (this excludes Jews and Muslims). As in many other countries we eat almost every part of the pork and cow, including tripes, blood sausage, pork feet, etc. some people eat insects, insect larvae and many wild animals, like turtle, armadillo, opossum, etc. We also eat cabrito (young goat) and my husband told he never heard of people eating it in France (he is French) they make cheese out of the milk and that is it.
    I have tried crickets (chapulines) and I cannot tell much about their flavor, I could only taste the salsa on them. I also tried larva that lives in the Agave leaves and they taste like butter.
    There is a variety of dog (Xoloitzcuintle) that was also eaten by the aztecs, but I am not sure that people still eat it since they are kind of expensive nowadays.
    These dogs are often confused with the Tepezcuintle that is actually a big rodent and it is still eaten in southern México.
    I know that some Asian people eat dogs, the real ones (Canis familiaris); a friend from the Philippines told me he liked it. People in other countries want Asians to stop eating dogs. They say dogs are pets, not food.
    Then some Indians could tell that the rest of the world cannot eat beef because is sacred, right?
    I don’t like people eating wild animals because some of them are endangered, but then for some locals can be one of the few sources of protein, so…
  2. Grop

    Grop Senior Member

    It is not very common but actually young goats may be eaten in France, we call it chevreau. Insects are not eaten, but some snails and frogs are, although it is not *that* common. I have tasted both and didn't find it very interesting (I think snails may be easily replaced with mushrooms).

    Of course many people find it disgusting to eat either snails, frog legs, oysters, pig tongue or whatever, but this is no taboo. Eating insects may be a taboo, but I think it is a light one (I have friends who claim they have eaten crickets in Africa, and it seems to be no big deal). The idea of eating dog may be a stronger taboo.

    Eating horse is also possible in France, but it is really not common (there are not as many horses as 100 years ago) and I think many people consider it a taboo.

    @Chicks: Do you mean foie gras? Assuming duck and goose is not taboo, why should we avoid eating their liver?
  3. chics

    chics Senior Member

    Catalan - Spanish
    Mais Grop! I can't believe you've forgotten to mention cirrosic leaven of gooses and ducks... :D
  4. Kajjo

    Kajjo Senior Member

    Germans eat no dogs and cats. Such food is legally prohibited.

    Many Germans don't eat horse meat, but many do. I like it, for example.

    Germans generally do not eat insects, but it is no real taboo, it is rather "just not done". I feel it is revolting, but that ist probably just upbringing and common usage.

  5. Mjolnir

    Mjolnir Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew, English
    The only "taboo" I can think of here is pork and other things forbidden according to the bible. "Taboo" because if you really want to eat pork, you can. There are restaurants that serve pork and you can even buy it in supermarkets.

    Like Kajjo said about Germany, here in Israel we don't eat cats, dogs and insects (even though certain locusts and related species are kosher).

    Here's a really detailed Wiki article about taboo food and drink.
  6. Chtipays Senior Member

    Mexico, Spanish
    hey Grop, I was wondering where do you find the chevreu meat? I have never seen it in the markets or butcheries.
    Maybe I have to do a special order with the butcher.
    In México we cooked something named Birria and can be made with this meat. It is delicious, but now that I remember, It can also be made with lamb.
  7. Mate

    Mate Senior Member

    Castellano - Argentina
    Moderator note:

    Before we go any further with this discussion, I'm going to remind everyone of our parameters.

    The Cultural Discussions Forum is basically a place for discussions.
    It is up to everyone to make sure that their contribution is thoughtful and does not drift into simple lists or chat .... which is a real risk with a topic like this.

    CD mod
  8. alexacohen

    alexacohen Banned

    Santiago de Compostela
    Spanish. Spain

    I can't think of any taboo food in Spain (generally speaking, of course: Spanish Jews and Muslims do have taboos). Many living beings are not eaten because it's simply not done.

    Dogs and cats. They're considered pets. And insects are to be exterminated but not eaten.
    Snakes are not eaten either, maybe becasuse of the Biblical snake. And other humans.
  9. Miguel Antonio Senior Member

    Galego (Rías Baixas)
    I have heard old folk's tales about cat stews being very common in the days of famine during and especially after the Spanish civil war (1936-39). Perhaps this may be the origin of the Spanish idiom que no te den gato por liebre (don't let them give you a cat instead of a hare) when warning someone to be careful of someone else's deceitful intentions...

    Many people in Spain are reluctant to eat horse meat, I once heard that this used to be taboo as horses were considered to be noble animals.
  10. guayaca Senior Member

    USA, Spanish
    Growing up in Ecuador I never heard of any "Taboo" foods. I remember going to the local market with my aunt to buy goat for a stew, cow tongue for a casserole, cow brain for omelette, and the insides of the chicken for soups. Even here in New York, my mother sometimes makes all these dishes. It wasn't until I came to New York that I found out about all these "Taboo" foods.
  11. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Portugal is more or less like Spain or France in this respect. There are no taboo foods, exactly -- I mean, no generalized prohibitions because of religious tradition -- but there are classes of animals that people generally do not eat out of custom, and would normally find repulsive: insects, cats and dogs, horses, reptiles, mice and rats... Frogs and snails are also not commonly eaten in Portugal, although crustaceans and clams/shellfish are quite popular.

    Technically, you're not supposed to eat meat in certain periods of the Catholic calendar, but I think many people turn a blind eye on these provisions nowadays. I wonder how it is in other predominantly Catholic countries...

    Then there are people who won't eat certain kinds of meat purely for personal reasons. For example, I've never liked mutton, and avoid it at all cost.

    We also don't eat humans, normally, even though that might be a practical alternative to other species that are endangered. :D ;)

    For what it's worth, the same saying exists in Portugal (dar gato por lebre), where there was no recent civil war.
  12. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
  13. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Cats and dogs certainly are taboo food in Austria too - even though there are reports of cats being eaten in the darkest days of wars.
    As already mentioned, these animals are considered pets and people would think it's disgusting eating them: no laws are needed to enforce this taboo.
    Guinea pigs, even though originally bred for food (in South America), equally never would be considered food by the proud owners of Guinea pigs.

    The same goes for rats and mice, althogh for different reasons: no one ever would eat them (though they were eaten in times of great need, during the great wars of the past).
    Insects too, for that matter. And snakes too, I'd say.

    Horse food is allowed in Austria and in some regions even popular; Vienna for example is renowned for its horse 'Leberkäs' (a kind of minced meat baked in an oven).

    The testicles of bulls are another matter: a few people here think that they are delicious food while others think it is disgusting even to think of eating them; it once was forbidden to sell and serve testicles here in Austria, but I think (I'm not sure) that this nowadays is allowed.
    According to wikipedia, testicles once were eaten almost everywhere in the Western World and still are popular in the Rockys and in the Mediterranean; I think that nowadays many people never would consider eating them (me included, by the way), but in Austria for all I know the tradition of eating testicles still exists.

    The udder of cows too are eaten in some regions, I think in the west of Austria probably, or in Switzerland even (?) (certainly not in the north and east of Austria), and equally many people would never eat them; as for if this is allowed legally I have no idea.

    Another thing many people probably would consider only as food for dogs and cats is the rumen of a cow (the stomach of ruminants) which is perfectly allowed here in Austria and once even was considered a delicacy (the so-called 'Kutteln' or 'Kuttelfleck'), but this kind of food is very much out of fashion today. Other innards are perfectly okay as well even though the less delicate ones (like the spleen) are rarely used and some are not considered worthy being eaten (who ever would think of eating the gall bladder?).

    Snails and frog legs came to the Austrian kitchen via the French cuisine and although they are not easy to get here (and liked only by a small minority) they certainly are no taboo food.

    Other little animals like especially hedgehogs or squirrels are not considered 'worthy food', I would say (or, in the case of the squirrels, they probably are much too cute to ever think of eating them) - but I don't see a 'real' taboo here.

    What certainly no-one would eat willingly here in Austria probably would be things like the penis of bulls and pigs: here I think a taboo exists.

    And finally, as far as human flesh is concerned I think it is clear to everyone that this is considered a taboo here, as it is almost everywhere on the world.

    Apart from that (and apart from relgious taboos for Jews and Muslims: no pork, for example, and as for Catholics: no meat except fish on Ash Wednesday = today :) and Good Friday, although not many any more follow the latter tradition) I don't think that there are any more taboo foods in Austria.
  14. Chtipays Senior Member

    Mexico, Spanish
    Eating human flesh it is such a taboo nowadays in Mexico that some people even denied that Aztecs used to eat human flesh. But it is now accepted as a fact, at least among archaeologist and anthropologist, that Aztecs used to eat some body parts of the sacrificed people or prisoners.
    They even found that some precolumbian cultures where sacrificing and eating their children when the harvest was not good, but this was generally a symptom of the decadence of the culture, just before disappearing, apparently.
  15. tvdxer Senior Member

    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    Minnesota, U.S.A. - English
    Well, eating dogs and cats is completely unacceptable here in the U.S. To a lesser extent, the same with horses. I'm sure many would feel disgust at the idea of eating monkeys, chimpanzees, or other more intelligent animal species as well.

    Eating insects is considered very odd. Tripe and organ meats (are they the same thing?) are considered gross, some grosser than others. For example, most Americans would find eating brain disgusting, but eating liver is not unusual. It also depends on what part of the country you're in.
  16. Orreaga

    Orreaga Senior Member

    New Mexico
    USA; English
    So far this discussion has been limited to animals and meat, what about other food taboos?

    For instance, in Navajo culture, do not eat corn when it is raining because lightning will strike you. Also, do not eat nuts from a piñon pine that has been struck by lightning or you will have bad luck.
  17. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    One Catholic taboo I could offer: my grandmother was horrified of the thought of someone not eating the host in church but taking it home (in the mouth), taking it out, cutting (!) it with a knife and eating it.

    The cutting was the part she was especially frightened of; she told horror stories of men doing this and going to hell as a consequence, and as I was very little at the time I was horrified, too.

    But I don't think that this applies any more - and why on Earth should someone even think of taking the host home to cut it in the first place?
  18. viera Senior Member

    Paris suburb
    Dietary restrictions in the Catholic church, in particular the obligation to refrain from eating meat on Fridays, were done away with a long time ago (in the early sixties) by the second Vatican Council under Pope John 23rd.
  19. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Could you, please, tell this my parents? :D
    It seems that no-one ever has told them ...

    But in earnest: where I grew up, in the Upper Mühlviertel region, it is still considered as obligatory by many people not to eat meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and people who eat meat that days in public are frowned upon by most people - though this tells you that not everyone in Mühlviertel still sticks to the rule.
    (Mühlviertel is one of the Austrian rural regions where there is still practised a rather pronounced conservative Catholicism.)

    In Vienna, however, where I live at the time, I haven't come across any people (yet!) who still stick to the fasting restrictions.
  20. Tetina

    Tetina Senior Member

    Greece / greek
    The Orthodox also have no taboo foods and there is only restriction in the food we eat in certain days of the week (like the Catholics) and on periods of fasting when even restaurants adjust their menou.

    But generally the Greek menou doesn't include: dogs, cats, mice, insects, turtles, snakes, donkeys, horse meat and we don't drink blood or anything made of it- like sausage.

    Some strange things we eat could be: ducks, rabbits, snails, all the entrails of animals (including testicles, fish eyes), squabs, and my mother told me that in her age they used to eat hedgehogs (something I've never heard before or again).
  21. avok

    avok Banned

    If it is not off - topic, can I ask you something about the catholics who refrain from eating meat on Fridays, is it "red meat" or any kind of meat including fish etc?
  22. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    Traditionally Fridays were days of abstinence from "flesh meat".
    So many Catholics ate fish on Fridays.

    "Flesh meat" means the flesh, blood or marrow of birds and animals.

    Fish, crabs, turtles, mollusks and frogs are not "flesh meat".
  23. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    It is still the rule of the Catholic Church that people should not eat meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
  24. avok

    avok Banned

    Ok... thanks
  25. mirx Banned

    This is absolutely true, perhaps the main point, people usually include in their diets what is available in their regions, so big countries have to have diverse views to their foods, perhaps even contradictory ones. What is perceived as a taboo food in one part of the country may be completely acceptable in others.

    In northen México I would definitely not eat insects, I don't know anyone who has done it, or intends to; however this may not be true for people in the south or center of the country where insect-eating is an everyday occurance and there are not even second thoughts about it.

    I am not sure, but I think trading with horse meat for human consumption is illegal in México, I for one don't know of any place where I can buy it.

    In the dry lands of northern México, it was a somehow common practice of farmers and ranchers to eat the abundant rattle snakes, they were valued for their (apparently) high-protein meat, plus they were also thought to help build immunity against snake bites.

    According to Viera this was outruled by the Vatican in the early 60's. However, most traditional Catholic countries will still practice it. And it's not limited to Good Friday and Ash Wednesday, but to every single Friday during lent.

  26. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Now Viera, Brioche, Mirx, let's get clear on this finally, please:
    - it once was obligatory not to eat any flesh meat on Fridays (plus of course Ash Wednesday); this certainly is no longer the case and is not practiced any more even in Mühlviertel
    - it probably still is (Brioche) or isn't (Viera) obligatory to not eat flesh meat on Ash Wednesday + Good Friday; anyway, however this may be, in some catholic regions (certainly in Mühlviertel) this still is considered being obligatory by the vast majority of the Catholics

    So what's the rules now? My guess would be that Brioche is right (I was quite surprised by Viera's statement), but I am not sure anymore and I wouldn't want to advise my parents against anything the Pope wouldn't approve of. :D
  27. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    In Poland there are some taboos on food.

    Generally, insects, primates, hedgehogs, rodents, reptiles, amphibians,* pets# are not eaten and their consumption is frowned upon which stems from the cultural convention or the fact that some of(?) these animals aren't available on our market which became cultural taboo on eating them.
    *one amphibian, i.e. frog, is sometimes eaten, but it is rather treated as a cuisine curiosity in one's menu than its staple ingredient since many people wouldn't even want to look at it, the same holds true for escargots and shellfish.
    #many people find eating rabbits unacceptable, but this is not true for all of them

    I know horsemeat is eaten, but this is rather uncommon, I have never had it. I have never heard about donkeys being eaten in Poland and I assume they aren’t (though salami is something you can easily find in a deli).

    We eat fowl, and game birds but don't scavengers and birds such as eagles, sparrows, etc. Pigeon isn’t found on Polish tables too, though my father has had it.

    The taboo food, of course, includes human flesh, although, I read that it happened during the WW2 that people ate it in concentration camps.

    Other kinds of meat that are tabooed come from religious provisions. In Poland still many people don't eat meat on Fridays (some of them even fast on that particular day of a week), Good Friday, Ash Wednesday plus some other holidays in the Roman Catholic Church that I cannot remember now.

    Alcohol drunk by children is also a taboo in Poland as it is in many cultures.

    We eat tripes, offals (including kaszanka – black pudding made, among other things, of blood (which is a taboo as a drink, btw, except when used in czernina)), there are, however, Poles who find it rather untasty. Brains, and other parts of a head, genitalia are, to the best of my knowledge, food taboos in Poland.

    Animals like kangaroos, ostriches, camels are regarded as comestible, however, they don’t make an important part of our cuisine due to their limitation on the market. This of course varies almost from a family to a family since people are squeamish about what they treat as edible.

    We also eat sour kraut, freshwater fish which are not eaten by the British (Anglo-Saxons?) and the French--sour kraut, I think (I would appreciate a comment on that, though).

    Some people don’t eat eel since it is a scavenger.

    Eating garlic, onion and beans may also be considered a taboo in some situations, especially when one often meets people.

    From the linked to Wikipedia article:
    Dar gato por liebre ("to pass off a cat as a hare") is an expression common to many Spanish-speaking countries, equivalent to "to pull the wool over someone's eyes" derived from this basic scam. There is an equivalent Portuguese expression Comprar gato por lebre, meaning "to buy a cat as a hare". More specifically, in Brazil, cat meat is seen as repulsive and people often shun barbecue establishments suspected of selling cat meat (although this seems unlikely, since cat meat is very different from beef). The expression churrasco de gato ("cat barbecue") is largely used in Brazil with a humorous note, especially for roadside stands that offer grilled meat on a stick (often coated with farofa), due to their poor hygiene conditions and the fact that the source of the meat is mostly unknown.
    This is still what it looks like in Poland, plus as I mentioned on some other Christian holidays. There are also Christians who fast on every Friday of the Lent or of a year.

  28. Spectre scolaire Senior Member

    Moving around, p.t. Turkey
    Maltese and Russian
    Interesting question because the Eucharistic bread is not really food in the first place. From a socio-anthropological point of view human flesh (the brain or whichever part of the human body) – to the extent that it is “eaten” by certain tribes (or was indeed by certain groups of people in the past, f.ex. the Minoans) – has never been considered as food, i.e. “material to sustain growth, vital processes and to furnish energy”. Humans simply don’t eat humans – here is a primary food taboo of this thread! But there are curious exceptions to everything.*) There are indeed cases in which human flesh can act exactly like the host mentioned by sokol. These cases have to do with magic, not with food. Consequently, the Eucharistic bread is as much off-topic in this discussion as the wine served at the same occation in the church.

    In fact, you could say that taking with you home the Eucharistic bread would be a taboo, a religious taboo because you are supposed to “sustain” the magic of transubstantiation while still in church, not in a place of your choice.

    Interestingly, the Webster definition of transubstantiation says that “the miraculous [i.e., by all intents and purposes, magical] change by which according to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox dogma the eucharistic elements at their consecration become the body and blood of Christ while keeping only the appearances of bread and wine.” [my italics] So much for the food taboo of eating human flesh. It is allowed provided you cover it by magic. Some tribes may eat the flesh itself, but invariably, there will always be some magical ritual involved.

    When I first saw a placenta (at the birth of my first child), it struck me as a good steak, and I jokingly asked the doctor whether they would prepare it as a postpartum meal. He told me, without a trace of disgust, that it was commonly eaten in China, and later I have learned that in today’s Northern California, see this site:, you may even prepare it as placenta tartare. You never know what you miss through food taboos! I wouldn’t call this cannibalism, though. Many female mammals eat the placenta immediately after giving birth (as I have often seen cats do).

    *) I am not considering the plane crash in the Andes some 35 years ago where those who survived did so thanks to the fact that they had resorted to cannibalism. Later, the Pope pronounced a food taboo annulment. It was considered more important to stay alive than to abide to a general food taboo and thus rather die.

    I think we might be talking about three types of food taboos: 1) religious taboos, 2) cultural taboos, and 3) personal taboos.

    It may be difficult to separate the three, though. I once made a comment on the first type: “A taboo indicates identity, and nothing [serves this purpose] better than food taboos.” (See post). In the name of tolerance one shouldn’t bother too much about other people’s food taboos. We all exhibit some sort of taboos – be it through our cultural upbringing or through our personal experiences. But in order to understand food taboos, there is no other way than to try and analyze them. Some socio-anthropologists have done this very successfully.

    Isolation is probably the “best way” to keep up with your food taboos – if that should be something of a personal desideratum. If you don’t care too much about taboos, or perhaps you would like to test the strength of your own food taboos, if not outright engage in new gastronomical adventures, I’d personally recommend a highly efficient “method”:

    If you are used to European (or American :eek:) eating habits, settling down in China for some years will make you come into contact with foodstuff that you had never thought of earlier as being edible. What about mice, crunchy scorpions on a skewer, silkworm larvae (that you can even buy in a Chinese supermarket) or small turtles with long heads that are being decapitated while you are waiting - just to mention a few. In fact, it is all very delicious! – except mouse meat which I wouldn’t recommend. It was much more of an acquired taste to eat various kinds of dumplings and the Chinese speciality 豆腐 dòufu, “tofu, bean curd”, than the prospect of being served a big fat snake (of unknown species) that was just being brought into a restaurant in Southern China. I had already eaten ants before going to China, but grasshoppers I yet have to enjoy for dinner. I never saw it in China. It is supposed to be extremely rich in protein, and definitely much healthier than eating a big steak – placenta or not. :D

    The only thing I can think of which seems somehow repulsive to my palate – and thus constituting a personal food taboo, I suppose - would be cats and dogs. They are being prepared as food in Southern China, but I actually never came across it. Horse meat I have eaten many times, if that is comparable in any way. I never really understood the rationale behind my repulsion against eating cat and dogs. Is there a psychological aversion linking these animals to entirely different “usages” among humans? A dog can be directly helpful to man – so one should not eat it? Then, what about the horse? :confused:

    The taboo against eating food made of blood is common in many cultures. Personally I greatly appreciate French boudins, “blood sausages usually mixed with porc fat”, but I wonder whether I would have been able to make a small incision in a vein of a reindeer and drink as much as I feel like before closing it – a common procedure among Samis in Northern Scandinavia. It is the limit – where food ends and taboo begins – that is interesting.

    Kangaroo and antilope meat I ate in Brussels (of all places), whale in Norway and alligator in French Louisiana. The world is full of great food for non-vegetarians! But if you consider whale as “an animal totem” – see this article: – you might not be able to digest whale beef. The author points at some interesting reasons behind a very recent food taboo that has spread around the world.
    :) :)
  29. ayupshiplad Senior Member

    Scotland, English
    Interestingly enough, whilst the UK is hardly a Catholic country, fish is always served on Fridays in the vast majority of state and private schools!
  30. Chtipays Senior Member

    Mexico, Spanish
    This reminded me of something that I observed in my mother's town (a tiny mountain town in Veracruz), women did not eat lemons during their periods, they said that that would make the bleeding stop, which they considered bad for their health. :confused:
  31. sokol

    sokol Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria; raised in Upper Austria
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    What an excellently disgusting post, Spectre. :D Yes, the host really is not 'proper food' - you're absolutely right here.

    I've seen a documentary on Chinese fast-food; the film team was somewhere in the south (could have been Shanghai, I'm not sure) where the Chinese don't sell hot dogs or burgers on their rikshas but rather fried insects.
    No one used to European food ever would consider eathing them, and I can't claim I would be an exception here.
    And eating the other stuff you mentioned never ever would come to someone's mind in and around Europe, one even wouldn't dare talking about the possibility - and so I don't do it either (me being no exception :eek:). (This really immediately reminds me of the 'special stuff' of the BBC series 'The league of gentlement' which never ever is mentioned - why, it could be that p-thing you wrote about. :D)
  32. avok

    avok Banned

    In Turkey some people do not eat:


    I do not know why, (to be honest I would not eat them either)
  33. Nanon

    Nanon Senior Member

    Entre Paris et Lisbonne
    français (France)
    The French certainly do eat it, Thomas. I should invite you to a choucroute!

    Taboos about meat cuts and parts of the body in France: brains are consumed (not everybody likes them, plus there has been some concern about ESB - "mad cow disease" - transmission risks) but not eyes. Some fruit juice places in Venezuela sell "ojo de buey" - I never wanted to check if they actually mix beef eyes with fruit and beetroot juice!
    Bone marrow is unanimously found delicious in France, and I strongly disagree with my - otherwise good - Argentinian cookbook claiming that "caracú" is not eaten in other parts of the world.

    Some people just can't see the heads of fish or rabbits. When you buy a (whole) rabbit, the butcher cuts the head away and asks you if you want to keep it - if so, normally you don't serve it but you cook it with the rest of the meat because it has a specific taste.

    There is a taboo in France (maybe it was more a prejudice than a taboo) against jelly (jello). Gelatin can be found in France, but not jelly! I don't exactly know why the French find it disgusting, but so it is.
  34. avok

    avok Banned

    Is it jelly fish?
  35. Nanon

    Nanon Senior Member

    Entre Paris et Lisbonne
    français (France)
    No, jelly like this one (the picture is quite sophisticated - it can be prepared without the fruit).
  36. avok

    avok Banned

    Hmm it looks delicious but I could not understand one thing. You cant find this kind of jelly in France??? People dont eat it?
  37. Nanon

    Nanon Senior Member

    Entre Paris et Lisbonne
    français (France)
    No, Avok, they don't!!! :D

    Absurd as it may seem, the idea of jelly, i.e. gelatin with water and some sugar, flavour and colour is absolutely repulsive to the Gallic palate.
    Jelly, sometimes called "la gelée anglaise", is described as one of the worst nightmares of English food by the French! But I must say most of them say so before they actually try it. And you can't find it easily in France.

    Honestly, I don't know why. Maybe because it shivers? Maybe because it's sticky? Maybe because it's made with water, so it's transparent, so it reminds of some body fluids??? No clue. I am not the best person to answer about this repulsion because I have been living abroad and I travel a lot (and I don't refuse to eat jelly when I have it on my plate, and nothing happens to me when I eat it.)

    And the second absurdity of this common prejudice is that gelée i.e. gelatin obtained from animal bones or their replacements (algae, etc) is used as an ingredient of many dishes including aspics (this one - oeuf en gelée - is traditional), so gelatin is perfectly acceptable when used with salt, not sugar, and not flavoured and coloured with chemicals.
  38. Mate

    Mate Senior Member

    Castellano - Argentina
    Moderator note:

    Please keep the discussion focused on the main question:

    Is there any taboo food in your country?

    Thank you for your collaboration.
  39. mally pense

    mally pense Senior Member

    Cheshire, England
    England, UK English
    Hmmm... what's really taboo as food.... in this country and I suspect most others... anything that originated inside the human body.

    Any exceptions I'm not really too sure I want to know about! :D
  40. Slavianophil Senior Member

    I do not know if any food is really 'taboo' in Russia.

    But we do not normally eat insects, spiders, earthworms, frogs, snakes, snails, slugs. Not because they are taboo, we just don't fancy that sort of thing.

    The Russian Orthodox Church does not consider any sort of food as unclean. (Though during fasting periods people are supposed to abstain from meat, milk and eggs, and on some specially strict fasting days - from fish as well).

    But the so-called 'Old Believers' (Starovery) do have certain religious prohibitions. They do not drink coffee, do not eat crayfish and perhaps something else.
  41. Wilma_Sweden

    Wilma_Sweden Senior Member

    Lund, Sweden
    Swedish (Scania)
    In Sweden, horses, dogs, cats and humans are taboo by tradition, not specifically related to religion.

    Apart from that, we're OK with eating most animals that walk or swim in these parts, game or tame, and those that walk on the sea floor, but absolutely not those that crawl on land, including rodents. :eek: Four-legged prey animals are off except bears.

    We eat the standard European 'edible birds' such as chicken, ducks, geese and turkey, but not swans (does anyone eat swans?) and not birds of prey.

    A new, 'reverse taboo' is emerging which relates to 'ecologically' produced food, which has become increasingly popular and assumed to be healthier than traditional production, although it's still always more expensive than non-eco food. Also, people are choosing Swedish produce simply because it's assumed to have generated less CO2 (shorter transport distances), thus we have an environmental concern emerging as well. To me, this last argument is ridiculous, and I don't buy it.

  42. almufadado

    almufadado Senior Member

    Português de Portugal
    In Portugal :

    Common Food :

    Chicken - Frango - At young age is eaten in full, roast is better, stewed is good;
    Roster - Galo - When in old age or in certain holidays is stewed;
    Chicken - Galinha - whole to make chicken soup (as a cold medicine), Cabidela - recipe wherethe chicken is stewed in her own blood with rice
    Organs and legs - Miudos - Eaten as snacks usually stewed

    Goose - Ganso - same as chicken
    Duck - Pato - same as chicken
    Arroz de Pato - Boiled duck, roasted with boiled rice and the duck without bones.

    Porc - Porco
    Every bit of the animal is used. Either the meat, skin, legs, etc
    Organs - Liver - "Iscas de porco com elas" - Fried in olive oil/lard served with boiled potatos.
    Intestines - Tripas - used to make all kinds of enchidos (sausages)

    Cow - Vaca
    Stake - Bife - the best is medium done.
    Cow feet - Mão-de-vaca - boiled with chickpeas
    Cow stomach - Tripas à moda do Porto/Dobrada - usually boiled with white beans
    Windpipe - African dish - Stewed with a mix of vegetables or beans

    Goat - Cabra - Only the meat
    Chanfana - Recipe envolves the staging of the goat in pieces immerse in lots of garlic, louro, and red wine and the day after stewed.

    Sheep - Ovelha, cabrito (young)
    Meat - Boiled when old, stewed or roast when young
    Organs - use to make petiscos (snacks)

    Rabbit - Coelho
    Coelho à caçador (hunter's rabbit)- Recipe envolves the staging of the rabbit in pieces immerse in lots of garlic, louro, and red wine and the day after stewed.

    Fish and other sea food - Peixe e outros animais marinhos - all types either, boiled, roasted, stewed, rotted - Pescada, peixe-espada (sword fish), carapau, faneca, polvo (octupus), lula (squid), choco.

    Snails :
    Little ones - Caracol/caracóis - Boiled with porc ham, galic is a delicacy in hotter days.
    Big ones - Caracoletas - roasted with a touch of spice and lemon ... uau !
    Feijoada de caracóis - A typical gypsy dish envolving red beans and snails ... very god.
    Hunted meat - lebre (savage rabbit). pombo (pigeon), rolas (pigeon), javali (boar), etc.

    Uncommon or rare foods:

    Horse - cavalo:
    Only clean meat .
    Started to be consumed because of the World wide wars, and there are a few(er) specialized butchers.
    The stakes are nice, differs on the color of the fat (yellowish).

    A specific type of ant in the spring/summer is eaten as a snack/delicacy in the Algarve.

    "No-No" foods :

    City pigeons - Pombos da cidade - they are said to spread diseases, like tuberculosis.

    Rodents - Mice, rats - Roedores - ratos (there are reports of them beeing cooked in times of famine. One of my teachers who went to Africa told he eated them there and tasted like rabbit)

    Insects - Insectos - none is eaten

    Domestic (household) animals (cats, dogs, etc) - Animais domésticos (gatos, cães, etc) - none is eaten

    There are tales of restaurants that used cats instead of rabbits (always buy the rabbit with the head attached (rabbit have pointy heads, and cats broad ones) or the tail (the fur is grey or clean white) and dogs replacing baby sheeps.
    One was very famous for their expensive rabbit dishes until a damage pipe need repairs and while digging the workers uncover the skins and heads of the cats.

    My mother's boss use to take the employees to the famous "cabrito no forno", the dog meat one, every year until the plot was uncovered and the owner paid a fine :eek: ... she never eaten "Cabrito" since the 70's ... and it's the traditional Christmas dish.:D
  43. Sarasaki Senior Member

    India - English & Kannada
    In my grandfather's time garlic and onion was considered taboo food by upper caste brahmins. There is another green vegetable called "basale" in my mother tongue that was also considered taboo. Nowadays though everyone eats everything!
  44. wonderlicious

    wonderlicious Member

    British English
    This is coming from a Brit. I've listed a lost of things people have mentioned, and commented on them.
    • Cats and dogs: This is considered pretty cruel, due to their status as household pets.
    • Humans: Obviously, this is the number 1 taboo food. ;)
    • Horse: Unusual, and definitely not eaten, but not an out-right taboo. I know of a horse-owner who finds eating horse just evil, and donkey/pony would be considered taboo.
    • Rabbit: More of a taboo food here than in France/Spain etc, but not all that much so, I suppose. Society wouldn't hate you if you ate some.
    • Veal: Same as rabbit.
    • Deer: Bambi kinda made this a taboo food for a lot of people (so that's what Bambi's mother looks like now!), but I've seen it in supermarkets, so I guess not too much so. In fact, its relative healthiness makes it somewhat favourable, I suppose.
    • Offal: I personally find this a bit icky. It does exist in British culture (steak and kidney pie), but I think amongst younger generations, it's a bit of a taboo. Things like brain, feet and heart are most certainly taboo foods. Only liver and kidney aren't that much so.
    • Snails and frog's legs: More a way of satirising the French than a taboo food, but not a native food.
    • Wild birds (pheasant etc): More something just not really eaten. Obviously, the idea of eating swans, owls and small birds (sparrows, robins) is extremely odd and.
    • Guineau Pig: Yeah, probably a taboo, at least if eaten in England.
    • Mice/Rats: Either considered too cruel or too unhygenic
    • Badger: Also considered somewhat unhygenic
    • Fox: Same as badger.
    • Squid/octopus: Eating it in England itself would be taboo, though eating it on holiday where it isn't considered taboo (Southern Europe) would seem normal.
    • Oysters/mussels: Oysters definitely not, mussels even less so.
    • Ostrich: I saw an ostrich-meat market once. Unusual, but by no means a taboo.
    • Squirrels: They once showed squirrel being cooked and prepared on TV, and it strook me as somewhat odd.
    • Insects: Very odd. Probably a taboo.
    • Duck: Less common than turkey or chicken, but not too much of a taboo meat.
    • Goose: Same as duck. A lot of people object to foie-gras.
    • Goat: People can get squeamish about this, but probably less so than horse or rabbit.
    • Kangaroo (and other exotic animals): Foreign, but in the right context not a taboo food.
    • Raw food: Obviously, most fruit and veg, oysters and. Eggs, meat, fish (aside from sushi), milk and potatoes are though. I found it quite alarming in France to see that I had to whisk a raw egg into the spaghetti Carbonara myself!
    • Brussel-sprouts: A tradition at Christmas, but let's be honest...who actually likes them or their smell?
    • Sauerkraut: Cabbage isn't everybody's favourite food, and the fact that it's "sour" makes it one that lots of people avoid. When I heard about "Sauerkraut-juice" (my friend showed me a picture of it), I almost puked!
    • Eels: Despite its presence in "traditional London cuisine", most certainly a taboo-food.
    • Flowers: People would probably just perceive you as extremely weird if you bought a bunch of flowers and started to have a munch away at them. :p
    Obviously, the normal cuts of beef, chicken, pork, turkey and lamb are not taboo foods. Most vegetables aren't as well. As far as fish are concerned, haddock, cod and salmon are the most eaten.
  45. Epilio

    Epilio Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    Snails are eaten in some parts of Spain, above all in Catalonia (caragols a la llauna is a typical catalonian dish f.e), but it's rare to eat them. Where it's factually true that they are a taboo is in my region (Asturias).

    Regarding rabbits, in Spain aren't taboo food at all. They're part of the traditional diet.
  46. Punk in Drublic Senior Member

    English (Australia)
    A lot of Australians feel strongly about the human consumption of Whale meat, particularly in Japan. Nobody eats it here, but a lot of whales are caught in Australian territorial waters in the Southern Ocean.

    I guess you could say it is "taboo".

    On the other hand, we do eat Kangaroo!! It is very tasty :)
  47. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    Interesting, because in France during or just after the the World -War II some villagers were said to sell cats instead of rabbits Frenchmen generally enjoy eating. They could mislead buyers because skinned cats look about the same as skinned rabbits. What about the taste ? I can't say as I have never experienced it !
  48. bearnybear

    bearnybear Senior Member

    New York
    American English
    In the U.S., I'd say some taboo foods are hot dogs, corn dogs, cereal, pizza, and ice cream - your average junk food platter. After all, the U.S. runs on fast food industries, so these foods are consumed by basically almost every nationality because there doesn't have to be sausage in the pizza, gelatin in the ice cream, or pork in the hot/corn dogs. By the way, hot dogs and corn dogs are not actually dogs! They can be made of beef, chicken, and pork. I prefer chicken!
  49. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi modus borealis

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    If everyone eats them, how can they be taboo food? I'm afraid that I don't follow this line of thought.
  50. Nanon

    Nanon Senior Member

    Entre Paris et Lisbonne
    français (France)
    Maybe not "taboo" but if one feels guilty or frowned upon because of eating them, or if they become a sociological marker, I see what bearnybear means.

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