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Would You Eat a Rat?

Would You Eat a Rat?

It has been said that there is a 12:1 ratio of rats to people in New York City. Granted, this is just an estimate, but it cannot be far off, considering the city has been plagued with rats for over a century. So it is fitting that this city, host to so many rats as well as vibrant discussions on sustainable eating, would also be an opportune place to start serving up rats for human consumption.

Don’t panic: you will not find rats on (or off) the menu at Gramercy Tavern, as we are probably decades away from the wide acceptance of rats for dinner (unless there is another impending apocalypse around the corner). However, call it art, call it performance, or just call it a fairly unappetizing dinner, but recently, at the Allegra LaViola Gallery on the Lower East Side, people were feasting on an assortment of rat meat preparations. What used to be relegated to the poorest of castes in India is now considered a sort of stunt dinner for the select few that were invited to artist Laura Ginn’s opening at the LES gallery. The show, entitled “Tomorrow We Will Feast Again on What We Catch,” centered on a multicourse meal in which the main ingredients, and aesthetic stars, were rats. Diners nibbled on goat cheese bruschetta topped with rat leg tenderloin, and rat-pork terrine encircled with beef fat, all of which were shipped from a United States Department of Agriculture-approved West Coast processor that supplies pet owners with humanely-killed, individually flash-frozen rodents (not exactly local eating). To take things even further, the artist wore a dress made of 300 rat pelts.

Granted, most people are extremely squeamish, if not repelled, by the idea of eating a rat, and this event was not intended to promote rat eating so much as careful consideration of our relationship to this vermin—but what if we did devise a way to consume this plentiful source of protein? Sure, you wouldn’t want to pluck just any rat from the sewer and throw it in a sauté pan, but what if we could find a sustainable, safe, and desirable way to address both our desire for cheap animal protein as well as our expanding rat population in one culinary gesture? Could you, would you eat a rat?

 

Related:
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10 Worst Rat Cities in the World
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Read more: Blogs, Following Food, Food, Health & Safety, Natural Pest Control, Nature & Wildlife, Pests, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

372 comments

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6:19AM PST on Feb 4, 2014

I wouldn't eat any animal, rat is no different.

5:27PM PST on Feb 1, 2014

How hungry are you?

4:45AM PST on Jan 31, 2014

Eatting a rat to me would be no different the someone eatting a dog. We used to have a pet rat and its temperment was very much like a dog, our rat was so loveable. So No!

4:43AM PST on Jan 31, 2014

No I would not eat a rat. I would go vegetarian again if that was the only meat on the menu.

9:19AM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

No. I would not eat any animal.

9:57PM PDT on Aug 26, 2013

No way !

10:34PM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

Probably, Veronica, because we are homo sapiens, not rodents. Rats also will normally eat anything available, and that includes meat and dairy.

7:45PM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

I'm vegan anyway, and I foster rescued pet rats, and of course I wouldn't eat them! If my rats (and dogs, and degus, and chinchilla) can be happy healthy vegans, why can't we do the same? :)

7:26PM PDT on Aug 10, 2013

no

2:42AM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

no way,vegan,thank you for sharing 11/7

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