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The Omnivores Disgust - Essay Example

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The author of the paper states that humans are capable of digesting plant and animal sources and have a wide range of choices when it comes to eating, but being omnivorous doesn’t mean that all possible edible items are acceptable foodstuffs. This is the omnivore’s paradox or the omnivore’s dilemma…
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The Omnivores Disgust
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Download file to see previous pages Choice gives us ‘autonomy, freedom, adaptability’ (Fischler 1988), but we must incorporate variety, because of ‘An omnivore, unlike a specialized eater, cannot obtain all the nutrients it needs from one food’ (Fischler 1988). The healthy human diet depends on diversity, but our paradox is that to stay healthy, humans must remain suspicious of possibly dangerous substances. The dilemma follows: we must orally incorporate sustenance, but, as Rozin reminds us, ‘it is not possible to specify in advance what sensory properties will characterize sources of nutrition (or toxins) in any particular environment (Rozin 1987). Thus, it was historically important that humans learn patterns of rejecting potentially poisonous food prior to allowing it to breach the barrier of the mouth.
Modern eaters seldom face this aspect of the dilemma. Humans have already identified the edible and inedible substances in their environment. Food can be contaminated or spoiled, and ‘All domestic animals are potentially hazardous to human health’ (Harris 1998), but modern cooks are usually aware of how to store, prepare, and cook to eliminate this problem. Prepared food has symbolic magic qualities as “the mythical representation of nature-culture transformation’ (Falk 1991). Food is removed from a raw, untamed state and made edible in a symbolic cultural sense. How can we reject it when it has clearly been made—transformed—into food? There is nothing inherently wrong with it.
Humans have learned they can eat bitter foods like coffee and that even painful foods like chiles have beneficial effects, such that they ‘delay food spoilage...make the dwellers of scorching climates sweat in a way that cools them off…supply essential micronutrients and protective antioxidants’ (Nabhan 2004). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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