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January 05
2015 年 1 月 5 日

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台灣的食安有問題不令人吃驚。最近吵得沸沸揚揚的食安,讓我想起一個故事……

當年在新竹讀大學,台灣還處在戒嚴時期,不像今天的大學生可以這樣暢所欲言、為所欲為。少數可以發點小牢騷的地方,就是在餐廳伙食委員會的月會上。

有次校園傳說,大家吃的包子餡裡放的是老鼠肉,於是在月會上,同學們紛紛指責餐廳的老闆不道德。戒嚴時期,罵的字彙沒有今天那麼多樣與缺德,指責人家不道德,已經很嚴重了。

面對年輕而又激動的大學生,老闆好整以暇地說:「我到哪裡去找這麼多的老鼠肉當包子的肉餡呀?何況,有這麼好吃的老鼠肉,我不留著自己吃,難道還會請你們吃嗎?」聽他輕描淡寫的一番說詞之後,大家再也接不上口。一場包子危機就此落幕。

後來聽說,當年學校餐廳的老闆是廣東人,而廣東人喜珍饈美食,據說四隻腳的除了桌椅之外,無所不食。此說名聞遐邇,有若真理。

最近,我在午休時看到校園的員工,在樹底下用菜刀把一小段斷了的桌腳切成肉絲般小塊。她見我好奇觀看,就告訴我:「洗淨後煮湯吃,清火去濕。」真的還是假的?我以為四隻腳可食者,已將桌椅排除在外,沒想到四隻腳的桌子,桌腳原來也可以用來煲湯。

註:本文曾載於聯合報(2014年10月31日)。

A few thoughts about food

Food safety in Taiwan is alarming. The recent episodes remind me of something that happened a long time ago.

At the time, I was still at college in Hsingchu. Those were the martial law days and students didn't have the same freedom to say what they wanted, or do what they wanted, as students do today. The only time they could make noise was during the monthly meetings on food at the canteens.

One time, there were talks on campus about mouse meat allegedly being used in steamed buns. A lot of students rebuked the canteen operator at the monthly meeting for being immoral. During the period of martial law, the vocabulary used for criticising others was not so varied, nor that mean. To accuse someone of being immoral was already very strong.

Faced with agitated young students, the canteen operator replied calmly, "Where was I going to find so much mouse meat for the buns? Besides, why did I serve it to you instead of leaving it for myself if the meat was so good?" No one knew what to say after hearing his light-hearted argument. The steamed-bun crisis subsided as a result.

Later on we learned that the canteen operator was from Guangdong province where the people are known for their special interest in exotic gourmet meat. The story was so widely circulated that it became considered a fact that Cantonese people eat anything with four legs.

Recently I saw a member of staff peeling off small pieces from a broken table leg on campus during the lunch hour. Seeing my curiosity, she said, "Once washed, it can be cooked in soup for medicinal purposes. It clears heat and dispels dampness."

Is this true? I thought tables and chairs were excluded when they talked about anything with four legs being edible. Not in my wildest imagination would I have thought even four-legged tables and table legs could be used for cooking soup!

Note:
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (31 October, 2014).

5 January, 2015

 

 

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