Issue X, Volume IV : June 2013
- From Plate to Palate, with Amanda McGuire: October 2010
- Elisa Gabbert & Kathleen Rooney - Some Notes on Hunger
- Terri Griffith - Take Two Calf's Feet
- Gregory Byrd - The Zen of Restaurants
- Jeannie Kidera - Cleveland Doesn't Need LeBron to Bring Home the Bacon
- Arielle Greenberg - Oh You Can't Get to Heaven in a Cart from Whole Foods
- Anna Daly Kauffman - Why I Can't Eat Rabbit
- Katherine Willis Pershey - Le Petit Sous Chef
- All Pages
Anna Daly Kauffman is a Copy Writer and freelance rabbit enthusiast. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Bowling Green State University and currently lives and works in Bowling Green with her husband and two pet rabbits.
Why I Can’t Eat Rabbit by Anna Daly Kauffman
My husband doesn’t like green olives. He gags at the thought of them and won’t touch a piece of pizza if a single green olive from my half creeps into his territory. My dad is allergic to shellfish and steers clear of most seafood dishes for fear that a piece of shrimp might find its way into his dish. Many people have food restrictions due to taste preference or allergy. I have just one food preference, but it’s not for either of those reasons. I can’t eat rabbit.
Some people are dog people. Some people are cat people. Some people are people people. Luckily for all these folks, their animal and human counterparts aren’t actively consumed in the U.S. I’m a rabbit person. My lot is different.
I’m not entirely sure what originated my love for bunnies, but it probably had something to do with being in the hospital for an ear surgery when I was 9. There was a black lop-eared rabbit named Buddy that hopped around the children’s play area. I was told that I could go pet him when I was well enough and seeing that bunny became my primary motivation for recovery. If I felt dizzy or if my head was pounding, I would think of Buddy and drink my requisite hospital chicken broth so I could be cleared to leave my room.
My affection for rabbits has only intensified with age. I’m 25 now and I not only own two rescued pet rabbits, but I also have a kinship for the great number of wild rabbits that call Bowling Green, Ohio home. Since Bowling Green has cracked down on stray animals, the city’s wild rabbit population has far fewer natural predators to contend with for survival. I understand that this may be tremendously irritating to backyard vegetable gardeners, but for me, it is Heaven on Earth.
While I love the wild rabbits in my neighborhood and call each of them by name (seriously), I’m not naïve enough to miss the fact that rabbits are regularly hunted and eaten. I’m well aware of this and I’ve always known that although I could never personally kill or eat a bunny, others would. Mostly, this is something I try not to think about. Recently I realized however, that rabbit consumption can pose a significant social problem for me.
My husband and I made plans early in the summer to go to a gourmet restaurant with some new friends of ours. Reservations were made a month in advance and since the menu changed according to the availability of seasonal ingredients, the only assurance about the food we would eat was that it would be of exceptional caliber. As the date of this outing grew closer, so did my feelings of anxiety and fear. There was a very real possibility that rabbit would be on the menu. Would I be emotionally OK sitting across a table from someone eating rabbit? It seemed incredibly audacious to ask my dinner mates to consider my emotional well-being when making their food choices. It also seemed terrifying. Would they take me seriously – or would they order rabbit anyway as a seemingly funny joke at my expense?
This internal panic culminated in tears when I checked the restaurant’s website on the afternoon of our evening dinner date. Rabbit was indeed on the dinner menu. I considered backing out but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to eat incredible food and more importantly, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to form meaningful friendships. I anxiously pressed on. After informing our friends of my mild panic they immediately assured me that they would not choose a rabbit dish.
I had a wonderful time that evening drinking wine and eating obnoxiously delicious non-rabbit dishes. While I knew rabbit was cooked and eaten in my proximity, it surprisingly didn’t bother me. This was probably because the company I was with cared enough about my enjoyment to free me of my food anxiety. Without seeing rabbit on a plate in front of me, I was emotionally free to enjoy the people who were sitting around the table with me.
Although I ate foods I’d never tasted and had my mind completely blown by flavor combinations, I learned more about myself and friendship that evening than I did about food. My love for rabbits is beyond quirky; it is a serious personal reality that has genuine emotional effects on me. Rather than shy away from who I am, I need to be up front about my bunny love. Good people will respect that. Fortunately, most foodies are excellent people.