Clean Table

I like food. I like variety. But I was brought up as a Seventh-day Adventist, which means the two aren’t always easy to combine. We don’t eat pork, shrimp, shellfish, intestines, etc. And a lot of us, including my family, are vegetarians. It’s not impossible to find and cook delicious and nourishing food, but it would still be much easier if we could just eat anything from the supermarket. I do eat meat now, but still not everything.

Earlier today I was in Netto, and noticed another customer shopping for his lunch: a loaf of rye bread, a cucumber, and three types of meat, two of these including pork. Too easy. Now I am aware that Netto’s product line is hardly inspiring, but it would help if I could sample all of their offerings, and not just the small portion that isn’t from “unclean” meats.

The same goes for travelling. It’s heaps easier to dine out when you can order meat, but still there are regional differences in the availability of clean meats. In Denmark you’ll probably find that around half of a restaurant menu features unsuitable stuff; in England it’d probably be less. Bangkok is manageable (chicken is always available) and even delicious if you’re lucky, but nowhere near the variety and attractiveness of Chiang Mai. A large Muslim population would usually be a boon.

But back to Netto – what if all of the different foods in the store were valid candidates for my consumption? If a Mosaic approach to eating had influenced a whole cuisine (Israel, anyone?), instead of the traditional Adventist meat rip-off products? If you could wipe the slate clean and come up with a new way of eating, unbound by tradition?

Or, on the other hand, what if I just cleaned my own table and started from the top. Stopped caring about clean and unclean and just enjoyed whatever nature (and Netto) had to offer. I probably can’t do it though – too much tradition.

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Author: Kenneth Mollerup Birch

Living north of Copenhagen, Denmark. MA in Information Science. Interests include communication, internet, sociology, language, politics, religion, theology, travel, music, and food.

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