A PIECE OF MEAT. ON EATING ANIMALS (Sztuka miesa. O zjadaniu zwierzat)
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Eating is not solely a simple physiological activity but also an extensive network of cultural codes describing the individual and constructing group identity. The question of meat is one of the most vital culinary issues, present in social discourse from the beginning of time. On the one hand, meat is the spoil of the savage predator, dripping blood, arousing the most primitive instincts, proudly displayed and eagerly devoured; on the other hand, it is nourishment, whose origin is timorously concealed under a thick layer of complicated processing. The preparation and consumption of meat is identified, and still is, with prestige. Human consciousness continues to retain the image, cultivated in the past, of the ancestor as a valiant hunter, for whom eating meat was the cause of special pride. The twentieth century, and in particular its second half, pluralized attitudes towards food and relativised their assessment together with the growing popularity of vegetarianism. The preparation and consumption of meat are no longer treated as natural, and are increasingly often regarded as a symptom of deviation. From mystical activities they changed into a secularised and often shamefaced process of simply filling the stomach.
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