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Sin and vegetarianism - Off in the distance — LiveJournal
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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2010-02-18 12:59
Subject: Sin and vegetarianism
Security: Public
There seem to be a tradition that although vegetarians may not eat beef, port pork, chicken and other such products of mammals and birds, that they can still eat fish. (Whether they can eat alligator, turtle, locusts, snails or other creatures is not something I've yet found out.) Like many others, I've often wondered about the origin of this, since it seems a bit weird, but the other evening, I think I encountered a plausible reason.

It appears that it comes down to the Christian tradition of fasting. Supposedly, the reason for 'not eating meat' during Lent, or on a Friday, or if you're a monk or the like, is that eating meat is indirectly partaking of the original sin. Animals reproduce by breeding, and in the case of mammals and birds, breeding involves copulation. If copulation is sinful, then the product of copulation - even that of animals - is also to some extent sinful, and therefore their flesh should be avoided.

Fish, on the other hand, do not copulate. Therefore, the flesh of fish is not the product of sin. And thus it is permitted to eat fish.

Okay ...

(Though whoever categorised whales as fish never went out with the sperm whalers. And also not all piscine species use the eggs-and-milt approach.)

Edit: for silly typo - thanks Feòrag.
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Megabitch
User: megabitch
Date: 2010-02-18 15:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jellied eel... one of the very few seafood/fish "delicacies" that I won't eat, right up there with caviar and roe for "dear gods, that's one of the most disgusting things I have ever tasted!"
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2010-02-18 15:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jellied eel is an odd combination of slooshy wet jelly, chewy flesh and embedded bones. I like eel, but I like it filleted and smoked, thank you.

Now, roes are interesting. They vary from the caviar/lumpfish ones at one end that though I do enjoy them, I can quite understand how others don't, through to nice pressed cod roe at the other. Totally different texture, because the eggs are so small as to be pretty much a paste. (And that's ignoring taramasalata, which is the smoked cod roe paté.)
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Megabitch
User: megabitch
Date: 2010-02-18 16:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh yes, I don't like pressed cod roe either (Dad used to buy it tinned and fry slices for breakfast *ew*) or taramasalata either. It's not just the texture, though I still found pressed cod roe very gritty. This also means that when I have any tinned small fish like sardines, I carefully open up each individual fish and take any roe out (leaving the bones behind) to be disposed of before mashing the rest up for spreading on toast *omnomnom*
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2010-02-18 16:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh right, OK. You really don't like roe at all.

(Contrariwise, I'll open sardines to slip out the bones.)
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