Thursday, July 14, 2016

Food Preferences and Dog Meat

As I read about innate and conditioned food preferences, I was reminded of the part in Endurance when the men are on the verge of going hungry and resort to shooting and eating the last of the dogs. While this was a hard part of the book to read, since in our culture it is not widely accepted to eat dog meat, it is understandable that the men would choose this option. What I found intriguing about it was the men's reaction to eating the dog meat--they thought it was absolutely delicious. While this does not directly connect to conditioned food preferences, it does exemplify how our attitudes towards food can change depending on our situation. Many of the men would likely have been squeamish if they weren't so deprived, and perhaps they still were. But there was no denying how much better the dog meat tasted than the seal meat.
On a different note, there have been many things in my life that I thought I didn't like, but as I was forced to try them out of politeness over the years, I learned that I just hadn't been exposed to them. Runny eggs, for example. I thought they were gross until I actually tried one. It turns out I had learned this "they are gross" perspective from my mother, who had never cooked them for us and never encouraged us to try them because she herself did not care for them.


  1. My 8 year old daughter had never liked salad. This past weekend, we arrived at a birthday party hungry. I am not proud of that, but it is what it is. A dry Cesar salad was put out first. Surprisingly, my daughter took some. She then went back for SECONDS and mentioned to me how she likes the lettuce! The second helping was only because nothing else had been put out yet. Either way, she liked it and now asks for it. I have always been told "if they are hungry enough, they will eat it". Perhaps I should try this tactic more often at home!

  2. I had the same thoughts as you had when the book talked about the men eating the dog meat. While reading the book from the comforts of my own home, where I have access to pizza, chicken or chocolate, eating dog meat sounds disturbing and inhumane. However, if you had the choice between starving to death or eating your own dogs, I would have chosen to eat the dog meat also. Who knows, maybe dog meat taste delicious, we just do not know because it is considered inhumane here and we have access to other humane options. Who would have thought eating chicken’s unborn chicks would be considered humane and delicious? What they had to do was eat a variety of foods that came from local sources because they had no other options. They had to eat the seal blubber or the dog meat in order to survive. According to the Food Powerpoint, food that is eaten when more hungry is preferred to food that is eaten when less hungry. In the men's situation, they probably enjoyed the dog meat so much more due to the fact that they were starving, rather than if they were still in the comforts of their own home.

  3. I feel the same was as you do. When the book described that the men who ate the dog meat thought it was delicious it seemed really creepy and gross to me. This is because in our culture we are taught that dogs are not to be used as food. They must have been in a very dire situation to go against their cultural morals and eat the dog meat. It seems that humans are capable of unlearning any behavior if they have the proper motivation. In this case it was survival.