Ill Affection Towards Meat




Most of the time, at the weekends, I would like to stay asleep till nine or ten o’clock. One day, that was not the case. My phone was ringing loudly, pouring “staying alive,” one of the beautiful and timeless songs of the Bee Gees, into my ears. I had no choice other than picking it up, and the caller was a good friend of mine who is obsessed with raw meat.

This fat-bellied friend of mine knew that I am not fond of raw meat, but he couldn’t stop tempting me to go to one of his favourite places, a famous restaurant, and butchery, for a belated breakfast. When we arrived there, we could not find a free seat, as the place was overcrowded by a swarm of raw meat lovers. We even had to stand in a long queue to order. My friend was salivating looking at those who had already started to devour the raw meat with a peppery and mustard sauce. “Uff!”

“Why are there many people here, as if they had not eaten for weeks?!” he murmured in despair. “You mean, just like us?” I whispered mockingly. I know it did not help. It rather worsened my friend’s frowny face. Though the waiter took forever to bring our meal, we had all the endurance to wait. After all, it is meat!

Legend has it that Ethiopians had started to eat raw meat since the 16th century. That was at the time of the destructive full-fledged war between the kings of the Christian Kingdom and the Islamic Sultanate led by the powerful warrior Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, commonly known as Ahmad Gragn.

The historian, Stuart Munro-Hay, noted down that there was no single early visitor, not before the 18th-century visitor James Bruce, who had confirmed whether the Ethiopians were eating raw meat. So, it is believed that eating raw meat started when the warlords of the 16th century ordered their soldiers not to ignite a fire for cooking, as its smoke would tell their enemy where their camp was.

But, because they had to eat beef, commonly accepted as the best source of energy and strength by then, their only choice was to eat it in its raw form.

Beef was not an ordinary food for all, nor was drinking tejj. One had to be a noble by birth, or a soldier or a clergyman to get such kind of privileges. Unless under special circumstances, like a feast in the palaces, it was strictly forbidden for an ordinary man to eat beef; even when he could afford it.

It was during the era of Emperor Yohannes IV that this unfair restraint came to an end. Since then, everyone started to enjoy beef, when it was affordable. So it is our history which, gradually, influenced us to develop affection towards eating meat. By default, there is a consensus that “eating meat, often!” is a sign of being rich.

But, is meat as important as we think it is? Does not eating raw meat have health ramifications?

Do not get me wrong. I am not arguing that we should stop it all. I understand that it has its pros and cons. But, I am conferring that we should consider the risks behind it. For instance, what would happen if the butcher accidentally cuts his finger and spills blood all over the raw meat?

Also, raw meat can carry and can be contaminated with harmful bacteria like salmonella, tapeworm, and other parasites. There are also these disgusting germ-carrier house flies coming from rotten animal carcases, faeces, and other dirty places; only to land on, poop and puke on your beloved raw meat. Why not, at least, cook it than making yourself prone to illness? Isn’t it risky enough for your health?

As it may be against your preference, science researchers and food science do not recommend eating beef on a daily basis, let alone raw beef.

Most of the leaders, scientists, and men of art who have changed, and are changing, the world for good have one common trait – they prefer vegetables and fruit to meat. Nikola Tesla, a brilliant scientist, and inventor himself, once inferred, “Many races living almost exclusively on vegetables are of superior physique and strength. There is no doubt that some plant foods are more economical than meat and superior to it in regard to both mechanical and mental performance” – a perfect maxim to follow, in order to “stay alive,” and be healthy!

Or you would like to think otherwise? why?



By Tsegazeab Shishaye
Tsegazeab Shishaye is an electrical engineer by profession and is interested in social issues, Ethiopian history, science and ideas that aim at changing the sequel. He can be reached at tsegazeabshishaye@gmail.com.

Published on May 27,2017 [ Vol 18 ,No 891]


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