Wednesday, January 30, 2013

At What Point Does an Animal Become Food?

I've always wondered...  "At what point does an animal become food?"

When does a deer become venison?

When does a feral hog become pork?

(As an aside, how come some animals are still called by the same name regardless of their current state?  Squirrel is still called squirrel whether it is in a tree or on a plate.  Turkey and ducks are still called turkey and ducks on the table.  ???  Inquiring minds want to know!)

The normal course of events would be something like the following:
See game.
Shoot game.
Gut game.
Transport game.
Skin game.
Quarter game.
Process game.
Freeze game.
Thaw game.
Prepare game.
Cook game.
Eat game.
At some point along this timeline, an animal becomes food.  (It probably makes a transition into meat along the way too.)  I'm no expert but to me, it seems to make the transition at the point of processing.  Here, the animal looks more like the hunks-o-meat most people would recognize from the local H.E.B and less like an animal on the hoof.

Below are two pictures of the same deer from this past December

Few people would question that this is still a deer.

Is this now venison or just lean, trimmed, succulent deer parts?

Below are two shots from a recent axis deer hunt which resulted in two feral hogs meeting their demise.  (Yes, I know the difference between the species.)

Hogs, pork or food?
It seems few people would call the above "food".  But what about the following?

Hog, pork, meat or food?
(The trained observer will note this particular hog either only had 3 legs or might conclude poor shot placement resulted in too much damage to a shoulder.)

(Yes, I know that is a BIG cutting board and before you ask whether I'm trying to compensate for something else....  I simply got tired of being limited by little, tiny cutting boards so I started a company that makes and sells these.  Check out to learn more (or even buy one if you like.))  (Shameless self-promoting plug now over).

Other food related questions to ponder in the future:

  • Where does the bread go when the toaster produces toast?
  • Why do the same people who get squeamish or upset about seeing the results of a butchered animal have no qualms about ordering a steak or boiling a lobster alive?

A Man in the Woods

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