Nairobi (HAN) November 11th, 2017 – Public Diplomacy & Regional Investment.
China and Russian sources revealed recently that Kim Jong, the singular Stalinist leader of North Korea, enjoys nothing better than a fine dish of roast donkey. At a banquet during Kim’s much-publicized train jaunt through Russia, a mysterious meat was served.
According to North Korean Scintists “Adults in good health can enjoy donkey’s milk as a hypo-allergenic substitute for cow’s milk.”
The African syntist Dr Massimo Caliendo, nutritional biologist, writes on the Eurolactis site: “One of the most important uses of donkey’s milk is in paediatrics, specifically for cases of allergies and intolerance.
“It is well-known that the protein in cow’s milk can be an allergen for children. If mother’s milk is not available, donkey’s milk comes into its own as an extremely beneficial and important source of food, particularly for cases of multiple food allergies and poor absorption.”
“World`s most expensive cheese made from donkeys` milk costs 800 pounds per kg”
Extra Sources: A man inspects donkey cheese in the village of Kukujevci near a farm in Zasavica Resort, some 80 km (50 miles) west of Belgrade November 6, 2012. Zasavica, one of Serbia`s famous natural reserves, will be producing donkey cheese at 1,000 euros ($1,272) per kilogram, the most expensive cheese in the world, according to the reserve. The reserve will also produce donkey milk, which is said to have been a beauty secret of Cleopatra`s. Picture taken November 6, 2012.
Meanwhile, “At first,” reported one British newspaper, “his guests were told they were eating `heavenly cow`.” This, however, was just a euphemism, coined out of respect for the late Kim II Sung, Kim Jong Il`s father and the founder of North Korea. A Russian official explained: “As it is inappropriate to say that the leader, son and heir of Kim Il Sung, eats donkey, the dish received such an original and poetic name.”
The news of Kim`s taste for donkey does not add to the dignity of this reclusive leader`s reputation. As he feasts on donkey, moreover, his people starve. But it is hard to know who was tricking whom in this donkey-eating episode — the Russians or the Koreans. It seems fairly obvious that the unnamed Russian source wanted to make Kim look like a jackass by saying he liked donkey. Yet it is equally possible that “Dear Leader” was playing a complicated joke on the Russian dignitaries who happily ate his “heavenly cow”.
Throughout history and across the globe, donkey meat has been treated as the lowest of the low. In ancient Athens, there was a separate market for its sale because it was the meat of the poor. In Russia, saying you eat donkey is like admitting you are a street cleaner (hence, in part, the national glee at Kim`s banquet). Judaism and Islam both prohibit its consumption. In most countries where donkeys are used as beasts of burden, they are seldom eaten. But why should this be? There is a circularity in this refusal to eat donkey. Because the donkey is held in contempt, it is deemed unsuitable for consumption. Because it is not eaten, the donkey is held in greater contempt. This does not mean that donkey is, necessarily, inedible or even unappetising. The gastronome Maguelonne ToussaintSamat suggests — as only a French person could — that, because the animals are beaten so much, donkey meat may be extremely tender. An Italian writer insists that “donkey tastes much like a sweeter, bloodier version of veal and is absolutely delicious braised and served with a nice wedge of polenta”.
In fact, donkey has been eaten more than is often admitted, and not just in the barbaric palaces of Pyongyang. In the Middle Ages, French donkey foals were stuffed with small birds, eels and fragrant herbs, and peasants inProvence cooked donkeys well into the 20th century. There is also a significant tradition of donkey-eating in Hungary, where shepherds would keep asses to accompany the flock. The asses would be fattened up on unripe corn cobs, then slaughtered, and the meat salted and smoked, much like pork. Donkey meat has also been hidden in many European sausages. The famous saucisson of Arles was originally made from a mixture of donkey meat and bull meat, which gave it a special succulence. It is said that a great deal of Italian salami still contains donkey.
While donkey meat has generally been despised, donkey milk is an altogether different matter, long prized for its nutritional properties. Since Roman times, ass`s milk enjoyed a good reputation for its digestibility. Some ancients claimed it was a remedy for ailments of the liver, lung, gall bladder and kidneys, and until very recently it was used as treatment in cases of meningitis. This was not just superstition. Ass`s milk is very close in composition to human milk, and therefore less likely to upset the stomach.Hence it was often given to babies who had no wet-nurse or who were deemed too contagious for human contact. In Paris in the 1880s, babies at the Hospice des Enfants Malades were put to suck at the nipples of donkeys.
What strange tastes we humans have–that we happily suck at the breast of animals we not only disdain to eat, but treat like slaves. Donkeys are the worst-abused of all beasts of burden: weaker than mules, less appetising than oxen. In 19th-century Britain, the “dairy moke”, or milk-carrying donkey, was beaten throughout his daily rounds. In Mexico, donkeys are still used to carry wood, straw, milk, water, tools, a usefulness repaid in lashes, poor food and neglect. In Zimbabwe, donkeys are loathed and feared. It is believed that they will kick people to death, that they attract lions, produce poisonous dung and are fit only for the lowest order of society. The root of many of these prejudices seems to be the shared belief that donkeys are inedible.
P Jones, an expert on animal husbandry in Zimbabwe, speculates that Africans respect cattle more than donkeys because an animal destined for the pot will be better treated than one which is not, “at least up until the moment just before slaughter, which is an alto gether different story”. But this still does not explain why it is thought so laughable to eat a donkey in the first place.
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