The Politics of Dog

| June 10, 2002 Issue

The Politics of Dog, John Feffer, The Prospect
A country's cuisine is a good indicator of what its society considers "cultured" taste and "barbarism," writes John Feffer in the Prospect. Feffer describes how he shocked American acquaintances with his taste for dog stew, a Korean delicacy and staple in other countries ("They look at me with the sort of horror reserved for hangmen and white supremacists."). The response opened his eyes to the social and political aspects of food, and he cites strange hypocrisies such as Americans' acceptance of Japanese sushi but not Korean pickled cabbage (kimchi,) and the French love of sea urchin gonads and disdain for dog. Feffer says that this mistrust of ethnic food can have far greater impact than just the difficulty of finding a bowl of dog soup at the local diner: "Other ethnic groups have experienced the same problem. At the turn of the 20th century, when Italians were not yet considered 'white,' their food was shunned for its liberal use of garlic and strong cheeses. Criticism of people, particularly of new immigrants, often masquerades as criticism of cuisine."
--Julie Madsen
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