Alibi V.14 No.15 • April 14-20, 2005 

Food for Thought

My Ass: The Other White Meat?

Cannibals can't agree on whether humans taste like pork or beef

I sometimes find myself staring off into space, wondering what it would be like to be a man. I imagine being tall enough to see what's on top of the fridge, being so focused on important issues that I never notice my toilet bowl is filthy, and, while we're at it, being hung like Tommy Lee. Right? How cool would that be?

But I'm off topic already here. I've also spent many an idle moment wondering about more weighty conundrums. As in: Does human flesh taste more like pork or beef? I look at my ass in the mirror and I think: ham. Not because I have a ham tattooed on my ass, but because my naked pink rump looks a lot like a pig's naked pink rump—less hairy for sure, and minus the mud.

But last night I saw this thing on HBO called “The Virtual Corpse” where doctors took this body of a guy killed by lethal injection in a Texas prison, and froze him like a popsicle. The docs then used a huge hacksaw to cut the man-pop into four sections. Then they ground off sections of the man-pop a millimeter at a time, taking digital pictures at every stage. Looking down at his thighs, when they had ground down about eight inches past his one remaining testicle (!), I thought to myself: eye of round. Jesus H. Christ. Slice a cow or a man through the thickest part of the thigh and it looks the same. Red meat with a big white bone in the center.

Remember that movie Alive, in which a plane carrying the Uruguayan rugby team crashes in the snow-capped Andes? After weeks of hunger, they finally agree to strip some flesh from the frozen carcass of a deceased passenger. The survivors told Piers Paul Read (who wrote the book that became the movie) that cooking people meat made it taste better, “softer than beef, but with much the same taste.”

And I'd always thought that we were supposed to taste like pork. Where did I get the idea that cannibals in the South Pacific said they liked pork so much because it reminded them of human flesh? I did a little Googling and found out that in "Conversations with the Cannibals: The End of the Old South Pacific," an actual people-eater describes the flavor as, "Same as the meat of a cow, but the fat is yellow." OK.

That crazed German cannibal who found willing victims on the Internet? Papers reported that he made a steak from one man's thigh, serving it with Brussels sprouts, fried potatoes and a South African Cabernet. Based on the wine pairing alone, I'd say it was a tough call. South African reds could go with beef or pork. Thankfully, the German cannibal spelled it out for us, reportedly telling police, "The flesh tasted so much like pork, I can't tell you."

Well, I can tell you that I've decided that people who choose—or are forced by circumstance—to become cannibals are fucking nuts. They can't be trusted to accurately describe the flavor of anything. The whole thing has grossed me out completely. I'm turning my curiosity back to being Tommy Lee.