There Are No Post-SHTF Picky Eaters

I was at a birthday feast for that old geezer Javi. I kid! He’s 5 years younger than me, but I’m far better looking. We go way back, having served together in the final clearing operations on the east coast.

Anyways, we were all digging into some excellent Rognons de Veau like it was our last meal. — That’s veal kidneys for you philistines out there. — I noted that, in the old days, this probably wouldn’t have been on the menu since most people turned their noses up at offal. In fact, I commented, there does not seem to be any picky eaters or even vegetarians these days. Well, what a conversation that sparked! Several interesting tidbits came out of this.

First, about half the people present claimed to be former picky eaters, one was even a vegan, but they changed their habits out of necessity. If survival means having to eat that piece of cow liver, you will hold your nose and do it. For many, their dietary restrictions were a result of not wanting to try new stuff. They discovered that most formerly avoided foods were actually quite good.

Second, and most surprising, several at the table new of people who died as an indirect result of their pickiness. It was never a direct choice of death over okra. Rather, having passed up nutritious oddities, they either didn’t have the strength when it was needed or took ill. Their inability to master the gag reflex cost them their lives.

Finally, the conversation ended when I asked if anyone partook of human flesh. All quickly said no, but there were a few downcast eyes and talk changed to the upcoming home stand of the Rappahannock Raiders.

For the record, I never ate people. However, I was never in a position where my life depended on that choice. I don’t think I’d have a problem doing it. I will eat anything. And I am a leg man. I’d get hung up, though, on how to ethically harvest that food.


~ by Bill Drinkmore on July 2, 2009.

3 Responses to “There Are No Post-SHTF Picky Eaters”

  1. That’s an interesting point. Given that most people would only eat the flesh of the recently dead – and quite sensibly so – and that most people would not trust the safety and quality of meat they hadn’t seen expire, it leads to the conclusion that they would only be eating the people who they recently knew; the friends or family members who just died of a known (acceptable) cause other than death by zombie. This now begs the question of just how many people could happily tuck into the recently vacated remains of someone they loved and/or cared for? Do they honour the dead by consuming their flesh or is hellfire and damnation the next stop down the line?

    • For me, the issue seems to be how one handles extreme hunger as well as the circumstances that led to starvation. If the hunger came about quickly for a person who tends not to look further than a day or so into the future, I’d venture you’re more likely to become cannibal. Perhaps, over time, if this became a regular event for a group of people, I could see it becoming ritualized as a way to justify the act. Lucifer’s Hammer covers this aspect nicely.

      I’m currently working on a short story that briefly touches this issue from a different angle. How willing would you be to join a morally repugnant group if it meant that you could eat regularly?

      Thanks for the comment, this is an interesting topic.

  2. […] Ditto for food, but the emphasis here is getting over the icky factor. I’ve written about picky eaters before and want to re-emphasize some of the points I made. Eating is first and foremost about […]

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