Not everything tastes like chicken

sweetandsourwhale.jpg
I?ve been lucky to have been stationed at schools that have their own cooking facilities on school grounds, so everything has been freshly made. As a bonus, kyushoku is cheap (220 yen for a lunch at my current school), and seconds are often available for those who want more.
The task of serving school lunch is delegated to the students, who carefully portion out the food. At the end of the designated time that they are allotted to prepare lunch, a student reads off the menu so that every one can check to make sure that they have everything that’s supposed to be there and also to let every one know just what it is that they will be eating.
On this day, I was talking to my students and ignoring the announcement when I heard ?blah blah blah?kujira?blah blah?, and took a second look at the sweet and sour ?pork?. I tasted it, and it was almost identical to the generic sweet and sour pork that you can get at any Chinese restaurant, except the meat wasn?t as fatty. Although delicious, this particular kyushoku made me agitated.
Why would you use whale meat to make a dish that tastes better with pork anyways? Whale meat is certainly more expensive than pork, and there must be other ways to prepare it so that you know you?re eating whale. It just seems like such a waste, even if you ignore the ethical implications of eating large marine mammals. The whalers went through a lot of trouble to file the paperwork to harvest the whale for ?scientific research purposes? and to harpoon the damn thing, so why did they make the whale taste like pork?
Another thing bothered me about the whale. I didn?t feel bad. At all. I chewed it, and though images of Greenpeace, mortally wounded whales floating on a patch of red brine, and other things passed through my mind, it didn?t make me disturbed in the least. All I could think was, ?Wow, this tastes like a lean cut of pork?.
I was curious to know where this whale was from and what type of whale it was. What species was it? Was it a toothed whale or a baleen whale? Where was it caught? How was it captured? The sad thing is that no one ever knows where the whale for our school lunches comes from. They know more about the beef, milk, and vegetables than the whale!

2 thoughts on “Not everything tastes like chicken”

  1. on one of my last trips – I had the sashimi version. It was similar to raw beef – except leaner. I suppose the old addage is ‘when in Rome….’. On the other hand, after a couple of visits to Tsukiji – I feel sorrier for the tuna. Something like 10,000 tuna a day sold at Tsukiji. If you’ve not been, you should check it out. At some point, you ask yourself – ‘can the oceans sustain this kind of output?’. Back to the cetacean thing – seems curious that the Japanese insist on continuing the whaling. There’s gotta be something political about it. Perhaps it’s one of the last remaining rebellious things Japan can do.

  2. Haha, it makes sense in that context. As far as I’m concerned, horse makes the best mammal sashimi, and pork the best sweet and sour.

Comments are closed.