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July 1, 1819

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Lord Byron's poem Don Juan was published in 1819 and featured a story of a shipwrecked crew drawing lots and cannibalizing the unlucky, however the poem has interesting views and says "Man is a carnivorous animal... Although his anatomical construction Bears vegetables, in a grumbling way, Your laboring people think beyond all question, Beef, veal, and mutton better for digestion." The poem also offers a beefsteak as the best cure for sea sickness.





Don Juan


Important Text:


Man is a carnivorous production, 

And must have meals, at least one meal a day; 

He cannot live, like woodcocks, upon suction, 

But, like the shark and tiger, must have prey; 

Although his anatomical construction 

Bears vegetables, in a grumbling way, 

Your laboring people think beyond all question, 

Beef, veal, and mutton better for digestion.

Full Poem:

Fun instances of searching 'beef':

So Juan stood, bewilder’d on the deck:
     The wind sung, cordage strain’d, and sailors swore,
And the ship creak’d, the town became a speck,
      From which away so fair and fast they bore.
The best of remedies is a beef-steak
      Against sea-sickness:
try it, sir, before
You sneer, and I assure you this is true,
For I have found it answer—so may you.

And Juan, too, was help’d out from his dream,
    Or sleep, or whatso’er it was, by feeling
A most prodigious appetite: the steam
    Of Zoe’s cookery no doubt was stealing
Upon his senses, and the kindling beam
    Of the new fire, which Zoe kept up, kneeling
To stir her viands, made him quite awake
And long for food, but chiefly a beef-steak.

But beef is rare within these oxless isles;
    Goat’s flesh there is, no doubt, and kid, and mutton;
And, when a holiday upon them smiles,
    A joint upon their barbarous spits they put on:
But this occurs but seldom, between whiles,
    For some of these are rocks with scarce a hut on;
Others are fair and fertile, among which
This, though not large, was one of the most rich.

I say that beef is rare, and can’t help thinking
    That the old fable of the Minotaur—
From which our modern morals rightly shrinking
    Condemn the royal lady’s taste who wore
A cow’s shape for a mask—was only (sinking
    The allegory) a mere type, no more,
That Pasiphae promoted breeding cattle,
To make the Cretans bloodier in battle.

For we all know that English people are
    Fed upon beef—I won’t say much of beer,
Because ’tis liquor only, and being far
    From this my subject, has no business here;
We know, too, they very fond of war,
    A pleasure—like all pleasures—rather dear;
So were the Cretans—from which I infer
That beef and battles both were owing to her.

But to resume. The languid Juan raised
    His head upon his elbow, and he saw
A sight on which he had not lately gazed,
    As all his latter meals had been quite raw,
Three or four things, for which the Lord he praised,
    And, feeling still the famish’d vulture gnaw,
He fell upon whate’er was offer’d, like
A priest, a shark, an alderman, or pike.

Topics: (click image to open)

Facultative Carnivore
Facultative Carnivore describes the concept of animals that are technically omnivores but who thrive off of all meat diets. Humans may just be facultative carnivores - who need no plant products for long-term nutrition.
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