“I’m never eating meat again.”
“This is truly sick.”
“I see why people are eating less meat. This looks sick.”
“No one wants to see this shit.”
And this was just a sample of the 791 comment avalanche that hit the Foodbeast account the other week after we posted footage of Turkish restaurant, Ercan Steakhouse, smoking a whole camel.
The outrage was puzzling, though. Aren’t we the same country that does whole hog barbecue, whole roast pork, and salivates over whole roasted ducks with nary a peep of backlash or vitriol aimed at anything and anyone? Isn’t there a viral epidemic going around of folks lining up and acting an outright fool over chicken sandwiches? What difference is there that millions of chickens are plundered for specific parts just to meet the demand for a Popeye’s chicken sandwich these days? Yet here we are — I myself included because that sandwich slaps — without an ounce of guilt accompanying the satisfying crunch of it.
In the immortal words of Nate Dogg: “I’ve got 21 questions, and they’re all about us.”
Sure, it’s a heady topic over some chicken sandwiches, but in the latest episode of The Katchup, hosts Geoffrey Kutnick and Elie Ayrouth dive into the hypocrisy this situation exposes.
Yet I must admit, the sight of a whole camel being pushed into a smoker large enough to accommodate the size of the animal was jarring at first. But the initial shock gave way to curiosity, fascination, and awe. It’s not everyday you see a camel being consumed in such a way — at least to mine, and so it seems a lot of our audience’s Western eyes. And I get it, camels aren’t exactly the most common protein we’re eating regularly in our part of the world. Key words: our part of the world. Imagine the audacity to think that how we eat is the same as how other folks eat in various parts of the world. Step into another region in your own state and they’re even dining differently. What’s shocking to some may be the norm to others; the availability of different food and ingredients relative to its location is ultimately affecting how we eat, after all.
Besides the indignation shown for the actual animal being consumed, another point can be made that we just aren’t ready to see where our food comes from. That sandwich we’re lining up for? Imagine the visual of the thousands of dead chickens needed to fulfill our viral cravings.
This now brings up the issue I never wanted to think about — where does Popeyes source their chickens? Frankly, it’s a conversation that we’re not ready to delve into. I don’t have answers, and I know that Popeyes chicken sandwich tastes just as good as the ignorance to those facts.
The same lot of us up in arms over the sight of an entire camel being cooked, are often the same ones waiting in line for a chicken sandwich. Nothing wrong with eating said sandwich at all, but if we’re still appalled by that, then maybe we shouldn’t be elbows deep in some Popeyes sandwiches.
Conversations and quotes in this article have been transcribed from the Foodbeast Katchup podcast: “#102: Camel Meat and Popeyes, We’re All Hypocrites,” out now on Spotify, the Apple Podcasts App, and all major platforms where podcasts are heard.