Written By: Heather Clemenceau
As an Anglophone from Quebec, it’s sometimes second nature to make fun of Quebecois chefs who not only make endorsements for eating horse in particular, but also promote other rather disgusting, gross, or cruelly derived animal products that may also be unsustainable examples of conspicuous overconsumption. Toronto restaurants are well known for flouting food safety regulations for the sake of flavour – raw horse and pork are readily available, even though Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act, frowns on raw meat in general, and requires that pork in particular must be served well-done.
The Templar Hotel has a new resto – Parcae, serving horse, bone marrow, sea urchin, and other notably and unapologetically cruel foods. The restaurant follows the “nose to tail,” method of preparing their cuisine, which has been said to include “everything but the oink.” Naturally, places such as this appeal to nihilistic gastromaniacs who like to patronize restaurants based on Instagram pics. Somewhat interestingly, the restaurant has a connection to M. Wells in NYC, which became infamous for trying to add horse tartare to its menu in 2012 (but did not do so after a huge outcry that included demonstrations). The chef at M. Wells, Hugue Dufour, is a Quebecker who worked at Au Pied de Cochon, where current Parcae sous chef Joseph Awad also discovered his métier. Just as corporate sponsors love to see their logos on t-shirts, there are potentially great business opportunities for individuals or groups to attach their names to these individual entrees, so I’ve decided to match up some of the most notorious brand owners and celebrities (real or not) for the most appropriate endorsements. Bon Appétit!
What’s On The Menu:
Suggested Sponsor – Merck
Suggested Spokesperson – The Geico Caveman
Carpaccio is thinly-sliced horsemeat served raw. I wonder if Parcae charges extra for pharmacologically active horsemeat containing veterinary residues that are barely screened-for by the CFIA? What wines are complementary with trichinosis? Cruelty issues aside, we should all refuse to eat any meal where there’s the remotest possibility that we may end up with parasites winding through our viscera (this is why I never get invited out to restaurants anymore – I’ve become a food safety asshole). Foodies who embrace the new and the outré, might also embrace a dose of trich as well, since it’s an acknowledged fact that horses on occasion carry trichinella spiralis, the parasite that causes the disease, which occurs with some commonality in France, where horsemeat is often consumed raw. That’s why I’m suggesting this is a sponsorship Merck might be interested in, since they manufacture Mectizan, the human version of Ivermectin wormers we are all using on our horses. You might need some if you’ve eaten a horse with trich. And our postmodern spokesperson, the Geico Caveman, would no doubt have eaten some raw meat, at least before the invention of fire. At least cavemen knew how to progress beyond the Paleozoic era…..
Suggested Sponsor – The TV show “Fear Factor”
Suggested Spokesperson – “Kill It And Grill It” Author and avid predator, Ted Nugent
Points for creativity? Cuisine of the foot proves that the zombie apocalypse is real. Please pass the beans… Fear Factor once featured an episode of chicken foot and rat bobbing that resulted in at least a couple of people bowing out, if I recall correctly. The TV show would make a great sponsor, since they regularly featured animal abuse. Nugent, whose most enjoyable experiences in life seem to involve annoying all the right people, is our eloquent spokesperson here – he once slammed a chicken to death on his reality show “Wanted: Dead or Alive.”
Deep Fried Lamb Brains
Suggested Sponsor – Boston Scientific
Suggested Spokesperson – Heart Attack Grill
Sorry foodies – eating brains won’t make you smart! Consuming the brain and other nerve tissue of animals may be hazardous to health. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other prion diseases aren’t killed by the cooking process either. And too many deep-fried foods and a heart attack can’t be far behind. Enter the Boston Scientific Corporation: It has sold over a billion dollars worth of coronary stents since just 2009. The CPR inducting, defibrillating, Vegas-based Heart Attack Grill makes no bones about the danger its offerings pose to customers – their tagline is “Once you arrive you will have put on a hospital gown….” Better hope that sexy nurse at the next table isn’t just dressed up for Halloween!
Suggested Sponsor – Fergus Henderson – Author of “The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating”
Suggested Spokesperson – Anthony Bourdain
This particular offering looks like another a finalist for the “Cruellest Entrée” category. The chef who thought this one up was probably trying to represent it stylistically as ikizukuri, (another tradition that deserves no respect) where fish are seared in a pan and then eaten alive. First off let me say that even when I was a meat eater, I could never have overcome the mental barrier involved in eating something that was looking back at me on the plate. Fergus Henderson’s book suggests recipes with a Sweeney Todd’s list of ingredients including quarts of pigs blood, lamb hearts, lamb tongues and pigs tails, which are all parts which usually go to the pet food plants. Anthony Bourdain, renowned chef-author-famous-TV-bourbon-swilling-former-coke-addict, should stand up and personally endorse this entrée without hesitation. I once read an article where he described eating the still-beating heart from a snake. Bourdain looks like death warmed-over, quite frankly, so it’s a fitting match.
Braised Octopus with Bone Marrow
Suggested Sponsor – Bear Grylls
Suggested Spokesperson – Fred Flintstone
What a great big blessed matrimony of cruelty! Cephalopods are such intelligent creatures who use tools and have adaptive behaviours, but it shouldn’t take expressed human-like self-awareness to remove an animal from your menu. Since bones were certainly around during the Paleolithic period, and hence, are available for inclusion into the Paleo diet, I’ve chosen Fred Flintstone as the spokesperson. Despite not having any dairy, grains, sugar, legumes, potatoes, processed oils, or any other food grown after agriculture started, Fred is still overweight and at least a 40 on the BMI scale. People who eat bone marrow frequently describe sucking the last bits of marrow out of the bones, so obviously, this isn’t a first-date kind of food (not that anybody should eat it otherwise. IMO). It also brings out the food preparation OCD in me because I believe that one should be cautious about eating parts of cows that may carry BSE. FSIS in the US considers these risky body parts to be the brain, tonsils, spinal cord, parts of the nervous system, and part of the small intestine. In the past oxtails have been suspect, therefore so too is bone marrow. There is some confusion about bone marrow because it has been reported to potentially carry the infection. Our suggested sponsor Bear Grylls is not only notable for eating virtually anything from spiders to grubs to worms, but to giving himself an enema with fetid water just to keep himself hydrated. No fear.
Suggested Sponsor – Flickr’s Food Porn Group
Suggested Spokesperson – The Journal Obesity
A hyper-concentration of fat in one dish. Guanciale is pork “cheek” or “jowl,” which gives new meaning to the term “your food has a face.” Bivalves serve as incredibly useful water filtration systems, and we should leave them in the ocean. They are often deployed in lakes where there is heavy pollution and bacterial counts. nutrients, and algae. Depending on where they have been living and what they’ve been filtering, bivalves can cause various toxic reactions in humans eating them. The typical method for cooking claims is to boil or steam them alive – hardly humane since studies have shown that clams, crabs, prawns, lobsters, and other crustaceans remember pain and avoid it in future. It really is time for shellfish, mollusc, and crustacean empathy.
Urchin with Sturgeon Cartilage
Suggested Sponsor – Top Chef star and acid-reflux spokesperson Spike Mendelsohn
Suggested Spokesperson – Gordon Ramsay
Whoever decided that sturgeon cartilage was a thing? And I wonder what person looked at a sea urchin and decided to try to eat it? I watched videos of people picking urchins off of the coast at the beach, and cutting them open with scissors, and my heart just sank! Why it is necessary to add two more animals to the food chain? We must collectively resist the foodie movement, which has played a role in normalizing horsemeat, foie gras, as well as popularizing other non-traditional animals or worse – the consumption of non-inspected meat or live animals, as popularized by wanna-be-known-for-sumthin’ chefs. Sea urchin and urchin roe have been in demand in Japan for many years, partially due to the belief that eating the sex glands makes one sexually potent. Like practically anything else the Japanese over-consume, there is now serious question whether the sea urchin population is being decimated as a result. “F” Word’s Gordon Ramsay is the selected spokesperson since he likes his uni (the Japanese term for urchin) with scrambled eggs.
Suggested Sponsor – Total Gym
Suggested Spokesperson – Paula Deen
When I first looked at this I was challenged to understand what I was seeing. To me, it looks like a cat had barfed up a few pine cones or marijuana buds. Once again the chefs are using pig cheek. Apparently pig cheek is very fatty as well, just like other cuts of bacon. This is another recipe that makes my arteries cry. Butter evangelist Paula Deen, famous for the super unhealthy Krispy Kreme burger, should endorse this one, because unhealthy eating has also made her arteries (and pancreas) cry. Total Gym sponsorship, self-explanatory.
Food has replaced drugs in the aging food-fancier’s pantheon of pleasure. How about we just go back to a green salad with a tomato or two? But if we did that what would happen to the celebrity chefs? Oh yeah, they might just go back to cooking decent food instead. I’m ready for this cruel macho eating to finally go away – along with the restaurants and chefs responsible for it.
I doubt any foodies reading this will be tangentially distracted by the concept of any suffering they might inflict. Of course, it’s critical to the jejune gourmand that he/she be able to eat not only in an elitist fashion that may be cruel, but one that he also cannot truly afford. These foodies and their priests rationalize consuming foods that must be acquired and slaughtered in the most brutal fashion, almost to a sadistic degree. Apparently greed and indifference to suffering are secondary values over the rightness of being able to gorge oneself. It truly leads one to beg the question, what is to be the next oral fixation?
If you’d like to send a polite, fact-based communication to Parcae, you may reach them:
On Twitter – @parcae348
On Facebook – Parcae