Okay, okay....My dad doesn't actually eat kitties. He hates them too much to actually consume them. Yes, the man who hates cats with a vengeance proceeded to have three daughters who adore cats.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Manoj doesn't eat beef, not for religious reasons since he is Christian, but rather for health reasons. A commenter, Nukkud, pointed out there there is a small Christian group in India that doesn't eat beef for moral reasons:
Some christian groups in india do not eat beef. Its a moral thing. Its a big misunderstanding when people say it is a religious thing.Nukkud then goes on to add:
Beef is not eaten by many groups in india for the same reason why americans do not eat dog or horse.
The dog is known as a "mans best friend" while a horse is known as a "companion". Similarly, cows are seen as a symbol of mother and motherhood. In india, anything that carries a "motherly" connotation is serious stuff and hence, "beef" related subjects raise strong emotions.
Source: Maternal family are christians from coastal maharashtra and they strictly avoid beef.
The keralites are an anomaly in india. Actually, a big chunk of hindu malayali population eats beef, though it's done behind closet.I agree to a certain extent that Keralites are an anomaly, but I would also argue the Keralites are just one of many, many anomalies scattered through India. For example, I have seen so many Hindus over the past 20 years consume beef and only a handful were from Kerala. The primary problem with discussing food choices in conjunction with daring to enter the choppy waters that comprise the complex cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of a country such as India is this:
Regardless of what I say, it will be wrong.
A country such as India holds just about every exception to every rule and as a writer, every single time I choose to write about India or Indians, I run the risk of someone pointing out the exceptions and exactly where I went astray.
Honestly? I really appreciated Nukkud's comments because they were respectful and most importantly, they made me think. Folks, you are always welcome to disagree with me and bonus points are awarded for making me think.
Generally, I believe morality and religion often have nothing to do with each other since so much religious dogma is based upon traditions with little explanation (two of the most moral persons I have ever known were atheists and grew up with no religion whatsoever.) Furthermore, religious traditions often become confused and infused with cultural tradition. I mainly mentioned the "Christian eating beef" thing in regard to my husband because there is a common misconception amongst many Americans where they believe all Indians are Hindus who don't eat beef. Often I find myself explaining that "Yes, my married name is George and no, my husband did not convert to Christianity for me." And then, I laugh because it really does tickle me. Besides, it helps to navigate life with a healthy sense of humor toward these things.
Truthfully, I can only speak to my own personal experiences and quite simply, I have seen way too many Hindus eating beef, Jews and Muslims eating pork and Catholics eating meat on Fridays to think that religion holds some greater power over our stomachs.
I freely admit that I have few "morals" when it comes to food. I don't eat horses, cats, dogs or frogs not due to morals or potential companionship issues, but rather due to personal taste. I love veal and I will happily tear through foie gras. Perhaps, this makes me a horrible person, but when you begin drawing lines in the sand with food choices, the tide will eventually sweep in to erase those lines. Even vegetarians have their own issues when it comes to "morals" as folks argue about the benefits to locally grown produce.
Anyway! All of this talk about different food choices reminded me of a tongue-in-cheek blog post that I wrote long ago when I was doing a blogging for our old business FoodieBytes (Full Disclosure: We sold our stake in that business earlier this year and we now own zero shares in it)
I wanted to end this post on a light note because in the end, food should be FUN, right?