On York Street near the medical school, a whole world of food
awaits an undergraduate willing to take a walk. I don’t speak of a fine
dining establishment or a legendary diner; instead, a short trek would
take a student into a village of food carts and trucks in all sizes and
varieties. Njoki Gitahi, a graduate student in the graphic design
program at Yale’s School of Art (you can see more of her work at www.njokigitahi.com), visited the colony and came back with beautiful images of a diverse community.
Ducking around discomfort with the animal form, by Devin Briski
Devin Briski guest blogs from China.
The average American pop culture consumer was introduced to China’s national specialty Peking duck in the Reagan-era movie A Christmas Story
as the unfortunate and unsavory alternative to a classic American
turkey. The scene: a stereotypical Asian restaurant staff singing “Deck
the ralls with roughs of rorry ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra” followed by a
cart with a roasted golden duck (referred to in the movie as “China’s
turkey”) with the head still attached. Randy looks into the dead
animal’s face and comments on its eyes with childlike intrigue and fear.
Then, the owner takes a giant knife and dramatically chops off the head
as the family matriarch screams in shame and disgust. Of course, in
lieu of Sixteen Candles’s Long Duck Dong, the singing waiters didn’t
make the cut as the go-to 80’s target of PC outrage. But the scene’s
portrayal of the Chinese restaurant definitely says something about
American culture: we like to forget where our meat came from.
The difference in the poultry section of a Chinese and an American
grocery store is startling. In China, it’s not uncommon to see an entire
pig hung by its legs, body intact, snout facing the ground. Fish swim
in tanks to stay fresh. In America, we like our meat in ambiguous slabs
and cringe at the sight of beady fish eyes on ice. In China,
recognizable parts of animals are regularly consumed: chicken feet and
pig blood. In America, people stick to the classic fatty meat parts,
straying from organs, recognizable body parts, and any food that reminds
us the animal we’re eating was once living. On the surface it seems
like Americans feel more sympathy toward animal life: we cringe at the
thought of a chickens necks being snapped, a casual and frequent event
at China’s open air markets. But do we actually?