Still, one food phobia I've never understood is the fear of thinking about where your food came from. I'm listening to a poultry-themed This American Life (because I love This American Life, not because I love poultry, although I do) and there have been several bits that have dealt with the modern separation of death from eating. The episode starts off with an urbanite interviewer asking nervously if the country kid at a poultry show if he ever ate any of the chickens he raised. He (or she, the voice was childishly androgynous) answered yes with definite undertones of, "Duh, you silly lady." I really found this part hilarious.
I've always admired vegetarians, even though I'm perfectly happy to butcher my own food. They're intellectually honest (at least in the arena of food). What they believe is harmless to society at worst and they actually act on what they believe. I can't always claim the same for my own beliefs.
Despite that admiration of vegetarians, I don't share their leanings. I do think we overeat meat in the US, and I don't eat as much as many Americans. Still, I've butchered my own chickens, although I haven't in a long while because it's a lot of freaking work. I've killed and eaten deer, dove, quail, and squirrels, but I haven't done that since high school because it's too much work and too boring. I'd like to think that I'm a pretty honest meat eater.
The only people who give me logical trouble are the people who are queasy at knowing where their food came from but have no issues eating meat. It seems as strange to me as my own post-sushi queasiness that someone would feel guilty or queasy at the prospect of their dinner having come from a living animal and yet still eat animals. It seems that if you had a problem with it that you just wouldn't eat it. It's not like you have to eat meat to be healthy (but you better take a more active interest in your diet if you don't to make sure you're replacing the missing protein sources. It's not as easy as just eating a few more beans.)
I think this pretending that meat was always packaged in barely recognizable pieces in Styrofoam and shrink wrap is part of what allows such practices as the modern industrial chicken "farm" to continue. If you choose to ignore that your chicken sandwich was ever that cute little yellow chick on your Easter advertisement, then it's easy to ignore the inhumane conditions the real deal goes through in overcrowded houses where constant antibiotics are necessary to keep the population density from spontaneously generating a plague of economically devastating proportions. Beaks are cut off to nubs to keep the broilers from pecking each other to death (something that only happens in conditions of overcrowding). The birds are bred to such massive size that as adults they can't even carry their own weight and end up looking bent and Quasimodo-like if not chosen to make a trip to the processing plant early on. Maybe it'd be nice if we as a culture would admit that some of our favorite foods came via the extinguishing of some creatures life, eat less of it, and allow more humane and sustainable animal husbandry practices to become mainstream instead of a remaining a niche market for those buying organic.
Of course I'm not judging if you are one of those people who cringe when someone points out the obvious fact that the cute little brown calf in the pasture beside the road is going to be hamburgers one day. (Maybe a little, but I'm sure it's a two-way street). I laugh at my own queasiness at sashimi and organ meat. I just find it a little hard to understand. Of course I've admitted my own disconnect with my beliefs and actions in the past, so feel free to fire back, although I warn you that if you choose to do so, I may choose to allow my feelings to get hurt and lash out at you like a scorned 14-year-old.