Issue 9 Food for Thought:
Food, Embodiment, and Knowledge

Homepage Intro Content

Note From The Editors

The paradox of studying food is that scholars necessarily rely on the very instruments of discourse that reify a hierarchy of the senses designed to render food unworthy of serious thought: Images and texts appeal to the “higher” sense of sight; they “figure the material as intellectual, imaginative, symbolic, aesthetic,” Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson claims (2004, 17). Reason cannot be found in the “lower” senses while eating reminds us too much of our body’s needs. But Krishnendu Ray reminds us that “much of the sociology of the body continues to be devoted to theoretical argumentation focussed on gender, sexuality, and disease, belying the sense that all social action {…} is always embodied” (2016, 26).

Read more in the Note From the Editors

Today’s Special

Beef image



India is unofficially the largest exporter of cattle parts. But not everyone would acknowledge it so quickly.

Four years ago, a confused someone someone (SS) needed help with her homework. Afraid to ask her parents for the taboo associated with eating / consuming beef, she embarked on a fascinating ride in the internet. The question was simple: What are 13 things made out of cows besides beef? So she quickly typed in this question and kept expecting the answer. For one whole year, no one came to help her homework. It was only after alcohaulin ass (AA), saw the post. AA immediately thought of ‘askthemeatman’, her / his trusted friend and here’s what AA posted:

“Beef By-Products
For as long as animals have been used for food, by-products have been important to humans. Cattle provide us with many by-products parts of the cow other than beef – which are used to create industrial, household, health, and food products, many of which you consume or use every day:

Gelatin comes from the connective tissue of cattle and is used to make many of the foods we often eat: candies, dairy products, desserts, diet products, jellies and marshmallows.

Household Products:
You’d be surprised at the number of products in your home made with cattle by-products No matter where you live, you likely have several of the following products in your home made from fats and proteins:

Floor Wax
Photographic film
Shaving Cream
Synthetic Rubber

Since cattle are organically similar to humans, our bodies easily accept medication or a treatment made with animal components:

Blood factors (for treating hemophilia, killing viruses and making anti-rejection drugs).
Chymotrypsin (promotes healing of burns and wounds).
Collagen (used in plastic surgery and to make non-stick bandages).
Cortisol (anti-inflammatory).
Glucagon (treats hypoglycemia or low blood sugar).
Heparin (anticoagulant used to treat blood clots).
Insulin (for treating diabetes or high blood sugar).
Pancreatin (aids in digestion of food).
Thrombin (coagulant which helps blood clot).
Vasopressin (controls intestinal and renal functions).
Vitamin B-12 (prevention of B-Complex deficiencies).

Cowhides provides us with leather, which is used to make clothing, shoes, boots, belts, purses, wallets, gloves, luggage, and automobile and furniture upholstery.

Cattle by-products help us to get us where we’re going- whether it’s by land, air or sea:

Antifreeze contains glycerol derived from fat.
Asphalt contains a binding agent from beef fat.
Beef fats and proteins are used to make auto and jet lubricants, outboard engine oil, high performance greases, and brake fluid.
Glue from beef protein is used in automobile bodies.
Tires have stearic acid, which makes rubber hold its shape.”

Did SS finish the homework? We still do not know. A one year wait to know 13 uses of cattle with someone called alcoholin ass, who has now gathered 1185 points by answering 130 questions, responding it with a list. Was it worth waiting for the answer?

The wait was definitely its worth for Ahmedabad police in Gujarat in 2009 when it seized 6,000 kilogram of beef from a mini-truck near Subhash Bridge area of Ahmedabad after waiting for three hours. The police did not do much. Most of the action was undertaken by the local Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) members who apprehended the truck and stripped the driver and others and paraded them in underclothes, while policemen from Ramol police station waited and watched.

Jaylit Yogesh, the local VHP member ensured that police arrested four persons in this connection. The police to local news-reporter even on the record that the mini-truck carrying beef was coming towards Subhash Bridge when the VHP members apprehended it. When the truck driver noticed a Tata Qualis car driven by VHP members following him, the police replaying the whole action for media said that truck which was ahead of the car tried to overtake it. “But the truck failed,” said a police official describing it with cinematic climax.

The publicly humiliated and later arrested driver of the truck after a long interrogation named one Iqbal Chipa of Ahmedabad, who earns a living by animal slaughter and beef trade.

On that same day, the local VHP unit assisted the Naroda police in rescuing 17 cattle from consumed by humans from a truck near Nana Chiloda area of Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar Highway. The police arrested the driver while the cleaner managed to flee.

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