We All Have Assburger’s Syndrome

Birds aren’t the only creatures that make a yummy meal when deboned and compressed. Donkey, goat and buffalo are as delicious as any turducken.

Mmmm dongobuffillet. Donkey stuffed into a goat stuffed into a buffalo.

Serve with a glass of chilled Chardonnay, a bag of sticky marijuana and a private performance by three Ukrainian lesbians and you have the makings of a fabulous evening.

It involves pushing one animal inside the gastric passage of another. It’s called engastration. I’m talking about the food, here. What you do with the lesbians after the show is your business.

The French are particularly partial to this kind of thing. The Marquis de Sade, for instance, was a big fan of … no, wait. That’s different.

In his 1807 Almanach des Gourmands, gastronomist Grimod de La Reynière proudly presents his rôti sans pareil – a bustard stuffed with a turkey, a goose, a pheasant, a chicken, a duck, a guinea fowl, a teal, a woodcock, a partridge, a plover, a lapwing, a quail, a thrush, a lark, a bunting and a garden warbler. This was a man who clearly loved birds.

A vegan turducken, made with tofu and other meat substitutes like wheat gluten, is called a tofucken. True story. And because it’s a real word, we don’t need to fanny about with stars so as not to risk offending the lunatic fringe.

In my research, while I rarely bother with, I also came across an item traditionally served at Bedouin wedding feasts. Here’s the recipe. Cook eggs. Stuff eggs into fish. Cook the fish. Stuff the fish into cooked chickens. Stuff the cooked chickens into a roasted sheep. Stuff the roasted sheep into a camel. Cook the camel over a charcoal fire and season to taste.

Perhaps there is something wrong with me, but I am struggling to build up a decent head of outrage over the news that there is goat in our beef, donkey in our mutton and buffalo in our pork.

There are families in rural Somalia that celebrate for days after finding a locust. And I can’t imagine anyone in Sudan complaining about weevils in their annual cup of UN-sponsored rice. The weevils are the French contribution to the relief effort. And it’s no coincidence that the French invented complaining. I’m not sure where I am going with this, but I have a feeling that if I continue, it’s going to end badly.

The last thing I need is Francois Hollande diverting his fighter jets from Mali to my house. The neighbours already have a problem with me and I expect they would use an aerial bombardment as an excuse to get the body corporate to evict me.

So. Of 139 samples of meat, 68% tested positive for ingredients other than those declared on the packaging.

The study was done by the University of Stellenbosch, the same institution that educated the likes of Hendrik Verwoerd, Andries Treurnicht, Magnus Malan and Martin Welz. Big meat eaters, every one of them.

Everybody lies on their packaging. Everybody except me. I’m talking about you, here. People present themselves as packages and lie shamelessly while selling their bodies and brains to the highest bidder. Yes, we buy. Even though there are no guarantees.

There’s 12% buffalo in your boerewors? Please. That’s nothing. I’ve got 65% psychopath in my boyfriend. Really? You’re lucky. I have 72% slut in my girlfriend. And so it goes.

I tried to buy a flat screen television this week and quickly found myself bogged down in a quaqmire of lies and subterfuge, mainly on my part.

“Do you have a TV licence,” asked the shop-soiled assistant.

“Of course I do,” said I.

“Can I see it?”

“No, you can’t. Just give me the fucking thing. I have money.”

What a peculiar country. You can pay someone R250 to kill your wife, but a shop that is in all likelihood selling counterfeit goods cobbled together by seven-year-old Asian girls won’t take your R2 500 and give you a 32” Sinotec because they think you might be an undercover SABC licence inspector dressed as a homeless person.

I was also lied to on the packaging on a TV stand. Easy assembly, it said on the box. Easy if you were the engineer on the Sydney harbour bridge, maybe. Not so easy if you got 13% for technical drawing in matric.

Insert dowel into bottom? Really? Fifty shades of DIY. Cover nuts (B) with plastic caps (C). I covered my nuts and went drinking.

Let’s get back to the wildlife the producers have been feeding us. The shops are panicking. Meat is big business in this country.

You need a machete to get a braai pack on any given Saturday in rugby season. As you hack and chop your way through the seething mob, butcher’s assistants are standing by to collect the severed limbs, shrink wrap them and put them on the shelves as legs of lamb. This is the way it should be.

The butcheries don’t care. Have you seen the kind of people who buy their meat in butcheries instead of supermarkets? They love the smell of blood in the morning. Their eyes glaze over at the sound of circular saws tearing through the haunches of cloven-hoofed animals. That’s in Joburg. In Durban, even vegetarians go to butcheries in February. Not for the meat, for the air conditioning.

So how are the shops that cater to the BMW-driving, diamond-smuggling, coke-snorting, mineral-pilfering, tender-fiddling classes dealing with this crisis?

Woolworths was quick to saddle up its high horse. “Random checks, such as DNA testing, are conducted routinely on meat products,” they said snortily.

The forensic science laboratory is run by the police. They hope to have the results of the Verwoerd case by the end of the year. My money is on the tapeworm.

Here’s what I think should happen. Woolworths offers a one-stop forensic service – maybe in the cold meats section – and the police start selling ready-cooked meals. I don’t care what they are. Seagulls stuffed in honey badgers stuffed in zebras. If it comes with olives and feta, I’m in.

The undignified corporate scramble for the high ground continues.

Nestlé, billing itself as is the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company, dropped a Spanish supplier after certain products were found to contain horse meat. What a shame. I rather liked their Shetland-flavoured chocolate.

Shoprite also does DNA testing. On its meat, not its customers. Although you never know when they might be running a special. Buy a kilo of wors and make sure the brat is really yours. Whitey Basson is nothing if not an innovator.

Pick n Pay, too, claims to conduct spot DNA tests. But in their case it’s probably on the staff to make sure they aren’t white.

Bon appetit. Or, as my mother used to say, shut up and eat it.

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10 thoughts on “We All Have Assburger’s Syndrome

  1. Classic Ben Trovato. Your image ought to be bronzed & mounted on a pedestal, in front of Sandton City, alongside another icon that brings a smile to many faces.

  2. I hate goat in my meat.

    These muddle-meated moegoes simply have no experience of hanging said goat from the bough of an Acacia collinsii in the middle of the Tugela dagga belt for three days in order to tenderise it.

    Idiots.

  3. I loved the paragraph about how peculiar our country is. I can’t believe the sales assistant mistook you for “an undercover SABC licence inspector dressed as a homeless person”! Do those even exist outside of TV ads?

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