The Magazine

A Donkey by Any Other Name .  .  .

Jan 13, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 17 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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"Walmart recalls donkey meat in China,” announced a headline on FoxNews.com last week. The Scrapbook, for one, was incensed: How dastardly to lace edible meat with donkey! We hungered for more information: What were the tainted goods? Were the “100 percent beef” hamburgers at Walmart’s Beijing branch strangely Eeyore-like? Or perhaps it was the “100 percent pork” sausages at the chain’s Shanghai outlet that tasted oddly of burro?

Meat

What does the fox say?

Well .  .  . not exactly. We read on: “[Walmart] has recalled donkey meat sold at some outlets in China after tests showed the product contained the DNA of other animals, the U.S. company said,” came the story from Reuters. “The Shandong Food and Drug Administration earlier said the product contained fox meat.” That’s right: The scandal is that meat that was sold as 100 percent donkey actually contained fox.

If nothing else, this is a reminder that China continues to have serious food-safety problems. Remember last year when “lamb” sold throughout the country was discovered to be rat? If you’re the kind of person for whom unknowingly eating rat doesn’t sound particularly appealing—i.e., if you’re not Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods fame—you might be best off going vegetarian on any jaunts over there in the near future. More deeply, it’s a reminder that all culinary preferences—more, even than politics—are local. One man’s filet mignon is another man’s .  .  . well, donkey. Anyone up for jackass au poivre?

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