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Ike Jime, the Japanese Slaughter Method for Tastier Fish (michelin.com)
212 points by vezycash 11 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 222 comments





I fish on occasion, though at my skill level it's probably better described as "being disappointed next to water". I'm usually going for perch or bluegill. People typically throw them in a cooler of ice while still alive, or put them on a stringer, a line run through their mouth and out the gill so that can sort of still somewhat swim around and live until the fisherman is ready to go home.

Both of those seem pretty unpleasant to me. I tried putting them in a cooler on ice the first time and they flopped around for hours. They were still moving when I went to clean them later. If you watch videos of people cleaning fish, you'll see they are often still moving even while the fish is being filleted. When I was a kid, I once saw someone cut the fillets off a fish and toss the "carcass" back in the water where it proceeded to try to swim away.

The last time I went fishing, I tried the first step of ike jime where you spike the brain. I used a little pocket knife and poked it between the eyes. It took a few tries to find the right spot, but once I did, I do think it was more humane. The gills flare and the fish stiffens for a second and then immediately after it has clearly shuffled off its mortal coil.

I don't know if it improves the taste, but it seems kinder to me than letting it beat itself senseless in a pile of ice or flail around in the water with a line running through its throat.

For anyone who thinks this comment is brutal or unpleasant, I would really recommend spending some time fishing or hunting if you eat meat. It's important to have a real tactile understanding of what it means to take an animal from the wild and turn it into food. It's up to you to decide if you think that people should or shouldn't do it, but, either way, I think it is a real learning experience to understand what that choice entails.

Also, I think we tend to live lives increasingly removed from the physical, tactile, natural world. Fishing is a good way to reconnect with nature and with your own nature as an animal, a predator that eats other animals.


Reading this is making me want to go meatless, so thank you for not softening any details.

I don't think I could handle directly killing an animal and preparing the meat unless I was in survival mode. Going to the local grocery store and picking up some neatly wrapped cuts of meat truly removes me from the suffering aspect of animals, let alone the atrocities taking place behind closed doors in mass production slaughterhouses.

How does everyone deal with the cognitive dissonance of how your meat is prepared?


I think it's important to keep in mind that attitudes around death and killing vary widely. In liberal society today many equate killing an animal to violent murder. By implication, doing so for practical reasons (like food) to thus be even worse: a kind of craven, mercenary murder-for-hire which is deeply immoral.

That mindset does not leave much room to interpret killing as anything but hateful and evil. The animal does not want to die any more than you or I would, and thus making it die is deeply wrong.

But for much of human history, killing animals was considered a fundamentally different act from killing a human. (Heck, killing humans was also considered much more acceptable in certain situations.)

If you spend time around hunters or farmers, they have much more complex relationship with animals than most urban dwellers do. The latter tend to have a simplified view that animals are sort like dumb, well-meaning people in animal costumes. The former respect that we have many things in common with animals, but also many differences. Eacn animal has a complex role in our society that has aspects of being material property, a natural resource, and a living thinking being.

In an urban environment, the only killing you are likely to experience is violent acts in movies and violent attacks between humans. Out in nature, you experience a greater range of ways that animals physically interact. And, if you spend time with farmers, you understand what it means to both care for and kill the same animal, to give it both a good life and a good death.

It is obviously not morally wrong for a wolf to eat a chicken. While we humans may "know better" and choose to not do that, we are also quite closely related to wolves. The chicken has a right to live a complete chicken life, and we also have some right to live a complete life as an omnivorous primate with the sharp teeth and stereoscopic vision of a predator.

There is no cognitive dissonance in killing an animal for food as long as you are willing to accept that animals are different from humans in some important ways.


For me, the act alone of killing an animal isn't immoral. However, I think that modern intensive farming is immoral.

It's one thing to go out and hunt an animal to provide for yourself, I used to be a hunter myself, or to have a goat or some chickens in your back yard to provide for you and your family.

I think that the concept of raising entire fields and barns packed full of animals who are raised to be slaughtered to provide entertainment for people is morally wrong.

Eating meat in the quantities we do as a western society is simply entertainment. It goes far beyond what we need to eat to survive or even to be comfortable.

I'm not actually a strict vegetarian on that note. I actively try to avoid eating meat, but if I need to eat and there is nothing vegetarian available, I will eat meat. I don't think that eating meat is an absolute moral wrong, but I do think that the way we eat meat as a society is wrong.


Well, there is significant cognitive dissonance in my experience as a meat-eater and ostensible utilitarian. Mammals and even fish feel pain.

I don't have a problem with killing necessarily, given that (painless) death isn't objectively a bad thing. At any rate, meat livestock exist for their meat, so in the words of the Life of Brian: "You came from nothing and go back to nothing. What do you lose? Nothing!"

But, most modern meat production is not exactly kind, and the idea of what the cow went through haunts my every bite of deliciously prepared roast. No matter how amazing the roast is, it does not offset the horrible life of the cow that brought the roast into existence.

Hunting serves a valuable ecological purpose in many areas now, due to the elimination of apex predators. Thus, I think that is justified much of the time. It's also vastly less cruel than factory farming. Likewise, I think humane raising and slaughtering of lifestock like you describe is fine. I think it is important to avoid pain or fear as much as possible, however.


I don't wanna get in a philosophical thicket here, but gotta note that I don't think it's entirely accurate to say that meat livestock exist for their meat. That may be the reason that humans raise them, but from the animals' perspective, they exist for their own purposes. Their lack of ability to exercise freedom and volition doesn't negate their intentionality.

Can you exist for your own purpose if you have no authority over your own existence? Farm animals exist because of their owners, therefore they exist for their owner's purposes alone, no?

Assume there were powerful aliens Zondors who defeated humans fair and square. It turned out Zondors loves human meat. So they built human farms where they keep them in cages until they become teens with nice soft meat. They barely provide square feet per human, feed them nothing but corn, inject with all kind of hormones and so on. Then they take ripe humanity of the cage holding from the neck, cut them open while still they were still alive and screaming, harvest meat and cook it right in front of other caged humans in various different art forms and enjoy it while having some Zondorian entertainment. This happens years after years, decade after decade and millions of humans purely exist to be food for Zondors.

How do you feel now?


Humans don't make good farm animals. We take years to fully develop and over a decade to reach puberty (almost two decades if you want safer pregnancies). We're omnivorous so feeding us will be more expensive (probably enriched corn/soy based meals) and over many more years. We're also not that big even if we were bred for size -- keeping stocky bulky humans with a good meat to fat ratio, discarding slender ones and fattier ones (unfortunately the same features that made my yoruba ancestors the stallions of the slave trade, would probably make us the wagyu of the Zondor haute cuisine).

The Zondors must really like the taste of human meat if they think it's worth it.

It also wouldn't work because if you have enough humans in one place under harsh conditions, rest assured a rebellion is in order.


Humans have sapience. Cows don't.

Cows should still be treated humanely and only have one bad day (when they're slaughtered) since they're clearly capable of suffering, but ignoring the difference is a little dishonest, intellectually.


Couldn't disagree more with this sentiment. Do prisoners and slaves exist for their captors' purposes alone?

I can understand an argument to the affirmative, but it is completely contrary to my way of thinking.

To quote Hamlet : "I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself king of infinite space"

or Hawking : "In my mind, I am free."


I think you are misunderstanding the parent poster: livestock animals would not exist but for their owners. So, for humanely-raised and nobly-killed animals: the choice (made by humans) is an animal with a benign, perhaps even happy existence, followed by a peaceful death vs. not existing at all. (Obviously not true for factory farms.)

It’s definitely not an ironclad argument: children also exist only because of their parents, but (our modern) society does not grant parents the right of life or death over their children at will.


This is like saying people brought from Africa for slavery wouldn’t have procreated, produced offsprings and successfully survived if it wasn’t for their necessities supplied by their owners.

^ exactly. To me, the notion is odious that individuals born into exploitative circumstances [be they human or otherwise] forfeit their volition / consciousness as a result of those circumstances.

Rousseau : "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains."


I have no idea who's down-voting you, but you are absolutely right.

To find acceptable the exploitation of animals while finding immoral the exploitation of humans, you must believe that animals differ from humans in some fundamental ways!

Comfortable, caring bondage is still bondage, and we should not forget that.


I can't wait for the impossible burger to hit grocery stores.

> In liberal society today many equate killing an animal to violent murder.

I kinda feel like it's seen as the opposite--a very controlled thing that has been industrialized to a huge scale.

> If you spend time around hunters or farmers, they have much more complex relationship with animals than most urban dwellers do.

I don't think it's these hunters and farmers who are running CAFOs.


I think there's also value in recognizing that animals can suffer. It is (in my opinion) a moral question whether or not to support systems that create animal suffering.

I'm mostly vegetarian - I'll eat meat when it is offered in a social situation or buy it myself to cook for a special occasion when I know the source is a place where the animal was likely to have "only one bad day" - the day it was slaughtered.

Back to the article - I think lancing a fish' brain to kill it immediately follows that spirit. As you say - understanding what it means to give it a good life and good death.


You believe that we have the teeth of a predator? That seems like a wild leap. Have you ever tried to eat the flesh off of an animal raw? I don't think your teeth or jaw would be capable. Where are your claws to aid you?

Apes eat raw flesh. You may be be overestimating the toughness of raw meat.

Plenty of people eat blue steak, sushi, and uncooked shellfish by choice. Additionally, having to do a lot of hard chewing not only strengthens jaw muscles significantly, but also your jawbone strength and size.

But the steak was cut off from the corpse already. Have you tried biting through a cow hide with your teeth to get to that steak? The fish was already filleted with a knife etc.

Humans are so superior in our intelligence we have figured out how to make knives and cook food.

This is irrelevant. I'm simply stating that we don't have the teeth of a predator. I'm very surprised to be downvoted for this on HN where people take pride in their scientific awareness.

No answers, only downvotes. Typical HN ignoance and remaining in conditioning

In which important ways are animals different from humans? I'm not trolling, I'd like to see your perspective.

This is a fair question, but I don't know if I have the time to give a well-thought answer. I'm not the kind of person who spends a lot of time thinking about animal ethics. I just thought it was important to point out the perspective of many people where it tends to differ from the stereotypical HN user.

Keep in mind that the idea that animals are not fundamentally different from humans is a breathtakingly recent idea in human history. One of the key reasons Darwin's theory was so despised initially and still today by a scary number of people is because it put humans and animals on the same plane.

A crude answer to your question is that we're smarter and more dangerous than animals and bigger and stronger than many of them. If a fish could eat me, it would. But instead, I'm able to eat it, so I do.

I also think a human life is worth more than an animal's life. If I ever find myself in some contrived scenario where I can save a bus full of people or a bus full of cute fuzzy puppies, I'm saving the people, with zero hesitation or regret. Even if bus A only has a single person and bus B has like a thousand puppies.

This doesn't mean that I think animals lives' are worthless. (My vet bills the past few months are sad evidence of that.) We should do what we can for them, and cooperate with our non-human companions on Planet Earth when we can. But part of being a living thing is also competition, including competition for the most precious resource — the calories locked up in our bodies.


Thanks for your detailed response!

> Keep in mind that the idea that animals are not fundamentally different from humans is a breathtakingly recent idea in human history.

We haven’t yet all understood the proper moral conclusion from that - that we humans and all animals suffer and can experience pain. Also the relative timeline of Darwin's ideas is irrelevant as their have been advocates for animal rights since Pythagoras.

> A crude answer to your question is that we're smarter and more dangerous than animals and bigger and stronger than many of them. If a fish could eat me, it would. But instead, I'm able to eat it, so I do.

What do you mean here by crude? You're probably smarter than a baby and the mentally handicapped, would it be ok to kill them? Or people who are bigger and stronger don't deserve more rights than the weak.

> I'm saving the people, with zero hesitation or regret.

This is a false dilemma fallacy. I.e. what happens in an emergency doesn't justify what we do day to day. Another way to see it is that if bus A has strangers and bus B has your family, choosing to save your family doesn't excuse killing strangers in the day to day. Choosing to save a human over an animal does not excuse the needless killing of animals every day.

> This doesn't mean that I think animals lives' are worthless. (My vet bills the past few months are sad evidence of that.)

But you probably wouldn't kill and eat your pet. That's because cultural conditioning tells people which animals to eat, and which to have as pets. I'm sure you've heard about the Chinese eating dogs. If you find that repulsive, ask why it's then ok to eat a pig, which is more intelligent and aware than a dog. Also consider the aspect of familiarity - someone might have a pet pig while continuing to eat pigs because their particular pet is familiar and close to them. This is analogous to xenophobia - if something is distant, it's ok to treat it differently. This is morally inconsistent.

> Cows are routinely commodified—undergoing forced impregnation, painful mutilations, and separation from their calves shortly after birth. Dogs, meanwhile, receive special treatment and veterinary care as pets. [1]

> We should do what we can for them, and cooperate with our non-human companions on Planet Earth when we can.

Yes, which is why everyone who is able should be vegan. There is no physiological need for animal products, so there is no need to take away another sentient being's right to live. We are out of survival mode. It is no longer necessary for our species to kill to survive. As humans we have the amazing gifts o awareness, intelligence and moral agency which we should use to reduce the suffering of all beings - human and non-human.

> But part of being a living thing is also competition, including competition for the most precious resource — the calories locked up in our bodies.

For humans, calories from plants will always be more efficient than calories from an animal.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciesism


Doesn't all this come down to whether an individual (or culture, or society) views humans as fundamentally different from non-human animals?

You are replying point-by-point to another poster, of course, so your post shouldn't be expected to fully cover your perspective on this, but you only mention "humans and all animals suffer and experience pain" as evidence for non-distinction. That strikes me as a little sad -- surely there is more to life and more to the human (and animal) experience than pain and suffering?

The "pain and suffering" usefully separates some living things (animals?) from others (plants?), allowing us to continue surviving without only eating fruits. But why is that the line?

Couple other points:

> ...everyone who is able should be vegan. There is no physiological need for animal products, so there is no need to take away another sentient being's right to live. We are out of survival mode. It is no longer necessary for our species to kill to survive. As humans we have the amazing gifts o awareness, intelligence and moral agency which we should use to reduce the suffering of all beings - human and non-human.

This doesn't necessarily follow. To be intentionally provocative: just because we can avoid taking away another sentient being's right to live, doesn't mean we should. Reasonable people disagree on, e.g., the death penalty, incarceration, and other avoidable, intentional harms inflicted on other humans.

Plus, if there were such a physiological need, would you be ok with killing animals?

> For humans, calories from plants will always be more efficient than calories from an animal.

Not strictly "always" -- there are ecosystems where the peak efficiency is "land grows grass" -> "animals eat that grass" -> "people eat those animals". (People, unfortunately, can't eat grass.)


> What do you mean here by crude?

I just mean not super well-thought out or expressed. The answer itself is crude.

> I'm sure you've heard about the Chinese eating dogs. If you find that repulsive, ask why it's then ok to eat a pig, which is more intelligent and aware than a dog. ... This is morally inconsistent.

No, it's not. This is something a lot of vegans don't seem to understand.

By declaring something "inconsistent", you are saying pigs and dogs are equivalent.

But they are obviously not the same. Pigs have curly tails and many dogs do not. Dogs are furry. Pigs and dogs have many differences.

So you have an implicit definition of "equivalent" that is really "equivalent for properties that I declare meaningful". You imply, for example, a person's cultural history towards an animal is outside of the properties that are allowed to matter.

But that set of properties is itself a choice. Eating pigs and not dogs isn't universally inconsistent, it's only inconsistent given some set of choices around which aspects of them you care about. When you claim other people are inconsistent, what you really are is oblivious to the fact that they consider some properties of animals important that you choose to ignore.


There had been lot of theories but to every theory there had strong counterpoint found. For example, speech, language and math was considered unique to humans but several animals have been found to speak, have elaborate language and even do counting and addition. Then there was belief that animals can’t do counterfactuals, for example, making decisions based on simulating what-if scenarios but that also has been proven false. My take is that there is no fundamental lack of ability in animals but the fact that those abilities are a magnitude or two lower than humans and animal species tend to specialize on very specific abilities.

There is book written on this subject that argues that most fundamental human abilities not yet seen in animals is building nested scenario such as telling a fictional story and desire to share knowledge among each other:

https://www.amazon.com/Gap-Science-Separates-Other-Animals/d...


> My take is that there is no fundamental lack of ability in animals

Yes I agree.

> building nested scenario such as telling a fictional story and desire to share knowledge among each other

This doesn't justify human dominion over non human animals [1], because there are humans - infants and the severely mentally handicapped - who also lack this ability.

[1] It's not explicit that you're arguing for or against this, but I just want to make my point clear.


I think it can be morally wrong for a wolf to eat a chicken. I don't expect good morals from a wolf, so I'm not surprised if a wolf eats a chicken, but normally the wolf doesn't own the chicken. The chicken belongs to somebody else. Granted, it is rather difficult for a wolf to purchase chicken, but theft is still wrong.

If you spend some time on /r/natureismetal you will realize that concepts like "fairness" or "caring" simply doesn't exist outside of human brains. Animals do whatever it takes to survive, and we're no better or worse than them. Eating another animal is completely natural and how the planet works, outside of humanity. Most animals die cruelly and painfully, but that's just a fact of life.

> concepts like "fairness" or "caring" simply doesn't exist outside of human brains.

We can test for a sense of fairness in animals. One test is the "inequity aversion task".

Non-humans showing a sense of fairness on this test include dogs [1] and nonhuman primates, ravens and crows [2].

[1] https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(17)...

[2] http://theconversation.com/animals-know-when-they-are-being-...


This is a great point thanks for sharing the links.

> we're no better or worse than them

I think every philosophical or religious system of ethics or morality that I've ever encountered suggests that we are, or can strive to be, better than other animals.

What makes you say otherwise? Do you follow a specific set of beliefs or tradition?


I didn't say that we shouldn't strive to be better than animals, but it depends on how far you want to take that.

I don't believe I should rip a fetus out of a pregnant woman's belly and eat the fetus for food, like you will often see in nature. However, I have no qualms in eating another animal for sustenance and even for pleasure. I don't think it's abnormal to think that eating other animals is fine.


Ok, I think I see what you mean. Thanks.

> you will realize that concepts like "fairness" or "caring" simply doesn't exist outside of human brains.

Here's the well known capuchin fairness experiment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meiU6TxysCg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KSryJXDpZo


I can post a video of an impala giving birth, and then a panther coming moments later and eating the newborn. From a human perspective, this is shocking and incredibly unfair, but the panther doesn't care, it just got its next meal. This is what I mean by "fairness".

I believe question isn’t about killing animals for survival but rather doing so for fun/taste. In several Western homes, people even cook lots of meat and throw it away in garbedge (especially around thanksgiving and Christmas). For many people meat is an object, not something that a living thing had to die to produce.

I was an avid fisherman and hunter in my youth; it's a tradition in my region[s] and in my family. I still support fishing and hunting for the already-stated reasons that it puts one in much more intimate contact with nature [i.e., the natural order of predation / food chain / realities of acquiring food]. When I killed an animal that I had caught, I did feel very sorry and regretful, as most people do, and I think that's part of what makes hunting and fishing beneficial for people.

As Daniel Beard wrote over a hundred years ago in "The American Boys' Handy Book" :

"[the] author must confess that as a man or boy he never killed any animal without a feeling of remorse for what he had done, and it was only after long thought and study upon the subject that he decided to put anything about hunting and trapping in this book. But after mature deliberation the conclusion was reached that other boys must have the same sensations as himself, when a bloody little trophy is stowed away in their game-bag, and that these feelings will prevent the average lad from killing for the sake of killing; for there is no fun in wanton destruction of life for a properly-educated boy..."

As I got older, I involuntarily developed a lot more empathy for nonhuman animals and subsequently went meatless / vegan.

I'd still sooner eat an animal caught by hunting / fishing than one raised in captivity [let alone, as you say, in a 'factory-farming' hellscape] -- by a country mile

p.s. gotta put my favorite joke here as it's apropos :

Q: How can you tell if somebody's vegan?

A: They'll fucking tell you.


I have flip flopped back and forth between vegetarianism and not several times now, always motivated by precisely these sorts of moral quandaries. I would just like to make what seems like a shockingly overlooked point whenever this debate comes up: there is a middle ground. If the thought of going meatless appeals to your heart and mind but not your tastebuds, why not try eating simply less meat. Every bit helps. This is my current strategy and I find works well — mostly plants, meat sometimes added for flavor, fish > fowl > mammal. It has health benefits and you feel like less of a jerk every time you see an article about CAFOs.

I grew up on the Moray coast in Scotland, with a shotgun and shooting pigeons, rabbits etc from the age of 9. I used to sell them to my mother - the key was she bought them "dressed for the table" as in plucked/skinned/gutted. At the time the going rate was 1 pigeon = 2.5 cartridges. On a good day I made a profit, but plenty of not so good days!

Anyway, we ate what I killed. And it seems a good understanding to have. What one then does with said understanding becomes a personal issue...

That said, times have changed, I live in London and my teenage sons don't have easy way to experience this should they be interested (plus gun laws totally different due to sundry incidents)...


> How does everyone deal with the cognitive dissonance of how your meat is prepared?

We’re born with incisors. Everything else is an implementation detail.


I was vegan for about 10 years, and it's kind of a long story how I became vegan, but I'll say that oddly I became much more accepting of this as a process of being vegan. I originally was ovo-lacto vegetarian for cost reasons and also because I just really like vegetables. Having become a ovo-lacto vegetarian (for something like 10 years), I thought why not go the next step and become vegan. Over time I realised that while I really like animal products and that there is no real acceptable substitute, I also really like plant based food. Not eating something you like because you have filled up your plate with something you also like is actually not a bad way to live. I never felt deprived, and always enjoyed my food.

But the odd thing was that during the time I was vegan I thought a lot more about my food. I started thinking, what's the difference between eating a cow and eating a horse (actually, I'll tell you: the horse tastes a lot better if you can believe it!) What's the difference between eating lamb and eating a puppy? I think it's that kind of place where most people try to avoid thinking about it, or swear off eating things. For me, I became more accepting of eating "strange" animals. I became more accepting of the reality of the death of an animal in order to feed yourself. I think before I was vegan, I just saw packages of food in the supermarket and felt vaguely guilty that there might be some suffering involved.

I got married late in life and my wife is not vegetarian at all, so now we eat meat and fish (but not puppies, I'm afraid to say). It doesn't bother me as I've come to terms with the reality of it. I guess in some people's mind I'm all the more a monster for it -- I know what I'm doing. We don't eat much meat or fish -- probably only about 50 grams (2 oz) a day and for a really special meal we might eat up to 150 grams (6 oz) each, but never more than that.

Anyway, it's a kind of rambling post, but if this stuff is bothering you, I actually recommend the route I took. I didn't do it intentionally, but for me it was a pleasant way to sort out my own feelings over a period of decades :-). I think the key for me was getting to the point where I could cook really delicious vegetarian and vegan food so that from there it really was an equal choice. That takes a fair amount of practice and exploration of different ethnic diets (You can't have a satisfying meal by taking a typical western diet and simply omitting meat, IMHO). It will time and effort to really dial in a way of eating that appeals to you. After that, though, it just becomes a matter of choice.


> I think the key for me was getting to the point where I could cook really delicious vegetarian and vegan food so that from there it really was an equal choice

This is exactly the problem that I think western society has with its meat eating habits. People feel obligated to eat meat, like a meal isn't complete without it.

Try feeding someone a vegetarian dish for dinner, and far too many people will complain that it doesn't contain meat. Even if they admit that it's tasty, they'll complain that it's vegetarian.


While I think you are right, I think a lot of it depends on the context of the meal. My parents are not amenable to vegetable only meals. My father is actively hostile towards vegetarians (which was a significant problem for me when I was vegetarian, as you can imagine). However, when they came to my wedding in Japan, my mother in law took them to a tofu restaurant. Nearly a decade later my parents still rave about that meal. They never realised that the meal was completely vegan (shoujin ryouri). I refrain from telling them because I feel that for my father at least, it would ruin his memory of the meal.

I love to cook and I used to do a lot of dinner parties when I as vegan. When I go out, I eat what I'm offered and am thankful for it (so I was never devoutly vegan). When I'm cooking, though, I cook what I like to cook and I almost never made any allowances for my guests' preferences (which is kind of selfish, but... oh well...) Generally people said they enjoyed the meals and many people who prefer meat told me that they were surprised that they could enjoy a meatless meal (for many people, eating at my house was the only time they ever ate vegetarian meals).

My idea was always to cook meals that were traditionally vegan and lean on centuries of refinement by master cooks rather than to try to do something of my own invention. When you eat food in the correct context, it's hard not to enjoy it as it is (as long as it is cooked well). I tried not to do any fusion until I felt that I really understood the basics of both underlying cuisines, which for me took years of practice.

Of course, your average person is not going to do this. I think that's really more the problem. People don't spend 2-3 years practicing Ethiopian vegan cuisine, but rather try a one off recipe -- and Ethiopian vegan cuisine is really hard to master. So the result is not so spectacular and they pair it with a seitan steak with teriyaki sauce, and a Caesar salad with the anchovies left out and you are just kind of left with culinary whip lash. It sounds really bratty for me to say it, but I don't like most vegetarian meals I can get in western developed countries.

I think over time, as more and more people choose vegetable based meals, we will see a western style vegetarian cuisine developing that people will choose to eat simply because it is delicious. I think it is slowly happening, but it's really not there yet IMHO.


I enjoyed reading your perspective, thanks for sharing. What are some of your go to vegan recipes, say for dinner? I've yet to purposefully set out to make vegan meals and I'd like to change that.

This is a really good question because I was asking myself that just the other day. I was saying to my wife that I miss vegan food and want to eat it a couple of times a week. My wife agreed, but that meant I had to remember my recipes (which, alas, I never wrote down... yeah... I'm an idiot... When I was young, I thought "Oh it's all about technique, not ingredients, and I'll never forget this technique!"... yeah... stupid).

Anyway, one of my go to dishes was a lentil stew with kale. I don't know why kale tastes good in lentil stew, but it really does. Some of the main things to keep in mind when doing vegan food is that you are going to be missing umami. The other thing is that most vegetables are sweet and when you make entire dishes out of vegetables, the dish will tend toward sweet. What you want to do, when you get the chance is to trade sweet for umami. You can also balance sweet with bitter (maybe why kale tastes good) and sweet with sour. Umami shows up in fermented food and seaweed, but also in things like tomatoes. You can also caramelise onions until they are quite dark, which cuts the sweetness down and gives you more depth of flavour.

Generally alcohol is your friend and fermented foods like miso or shoyu (naturally fermented soy sauce) have tonnes of umami. They also break down the proteins into many different amino acids, so can play the same role in delivering flavour that cheese can. Try to find traditional producers that have aged varieties, because you'll have more amino acids, more umami and more alcohol. I use a 4 year old soy sauce when cooking (though probably impossible to find in North America). Your default should be Kikkoman, which is fermented for at least a year (and will probably be called Tamari outside of Japan, even though it isn't). One other quick thing about alcohol is that some flavours only dissolve in alcohol. Adding alcohol really helps because you can dissolve those flavours and then evaporate off the alcohol, leaving the flavour behind. When using alcohol, use the best that you can afford (which is usually whatever thing is taxed less in your country -- in Japan, whiskey is oddly efficient).

I learned how to cook, originally, from the 3 volume "Mastering the Art of French Cooking", so I err on the side of relying on soup stocks for things. Making a good soup stock is super important and is one of the things I recommend practicing a lot. You can buy soup stock, but especially for vegan cooking you need to be able to pack a lot of flavour and you need to avoid the sweetness. Again, you can use tricks of roasting your veggies ahead of time and experimenting with different kinds.

I also (for a long time) have used Japanese kombu dashi and also shiitake dashi. Basically, you soak kombu seaweed in water overnight in cold water, then bring the temperature of the water up until you just start to see bubbles rising from the kombu, take it off the heat and hold it for about half an hour. To make shiitake dashi, you add dried shiitake mushrooms to it at the same time you added the seaweed. Of course, after the stock is made, you should remove the seaweed and mushrooms and do something else with them. With this you can make a very nice umami stock (just add miso for miso soup) For the seaweed, as a side dish (especially for when you are drinking), roll up the seaweed and then slice it as fine as you can. It will get very slimey. Add a touch of hot sauce, vinegar, soy sauce and a drop of sesame oil. Mix it up and let it sit in the fridge for a while. Very high in iodine and if you eat that kind of thing every day, you don't need iodised salt. (Be careful if you have a thyroid problem, though!)

So for a stew, the idea is that you want to layer these flavours. You can caramelise an onion, then add some tomato paste (or whatever scraps of tomatoes you might have around) and fry it down. Add some garlic (and potentially some grated fresh ginger). Then add the lentils and add your normal soup stock with a splash of some alcohol (red wine, beer, whisky, etc Careful with adding too much beer because it can be bitter. Same with wine because it can be sour). Cook it rather thickly until the lentils are done, with some herbs (whatever you like: maybe bay laurel, rosemary and sage -- that's a pretty "meaty" combination). Add some shiitake dashi to thin it out and salt using a combination of miso and salt (whichever proportion tastes good to you). Also mix in the rehydrated shiitake from the dashi -- they have a nice texture in the stew. Add some kale and cook until it has a texture you like. Readjust salt (the kale soaks up a lot). Finish with freshly ground pepper. Hopefully that will taste good. It's been a donkey's age since I made it and I might have forgotten something. Serve with rice.

Another good candidate is actually ramen. I could write pages on this, but again take your stock, shiitake dashi and mix it 50:50 with soy milk (yeah, it's strange). Mix in grated garlic, ginger and miso paste (enough so that the whole thing is a bit saltier than you would like). Add black pepper and as much hot sauce as you like. Cook up some angel hair pasta in another pot. When done, put the pasta in a basket put a lid on it and shake off the excess water (very important). Put the pasta in a big bowl. Pour the soup over top (should be very hot) until it just covers the pasta. Add menma (lactic fermented bamboo strips), some cooled and squeezed out spinach (you can use frozen spinach, microwave it to thaw and then just wring out the juice -- which you can save for something else), and a single piece of nori seaweed. You can also put in that reconstituted shiitake in as well if you have any. Cover with a generous portion of sesame oil (at least a couple of teaspoons). This is surprisingly awesome (IMHO).

Hope that gives you some ideas!


Thank you so much for sharing!!!

I think cooking will be a great hobby of mine as an analytical and creative mind. This seems natural with all the different permutations, properties, and parameters of ingredients e.g. texture, flavor profile, acidity, heat etc, along with myriad preparation and cooking methods with varying nuanced levels of precision.


This is amazing. I learned so much! I'll have to try the lentils and kale soup. The ramen dish sounds very interesting as well. Excited to go grocery shopping; thanks!!

A little over a year ago we heard some squeaking and determined that there was a mouse in the apartment. Maintenance set out glue traps, which eventually yielded a terrified wriggling little grey intruder stuck to a piece of plastic. The recommendation was to just throw the mouse in the garbage, but I know starvation is a terrible way to die, so I took it out back and killed it with a knife.

It was not a fun process. I drank a lot of whisky to get up the nerve. It took a few stabs before it stopped moving. But honestly I didn't feel that bad about it afterwards. It's a mouse. When we clear a forest, drain a lake, pollute a river, or build a road, animals die worse deaths, but we don't see it happening. When we reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone a bunch of herbivores were hunted down and eaten by beasts they had never known to exist. I did the best I could to give it the least painless death I could, which is how all livestock are harvested. Other problems weigh much heavier on my mind.


a baseball bat or some other club is probably a faster, cleaner, safer tool should there ever be a next time

It is very likely that sometime during next 100 years, people in that generation would look down on us as barbaric as Gengiz Khan cutting off people from his horse while laughing as if that was perfectly normal thing to do. I have never understood people eating meat for taste, let alone as leisure activity. If you had grown up never eating meat and then during your youth if you tasted it, the meat would be revolting in texture and least flavorful thing you would have tasted. So I tend to assume lot of people get used to it is because of their exposure to it since childhood. If you ever looked at chicken farm or industrial beef facilities, you would never want to eat meat again. The key to leaving meat behind would be artificial food that is wildly tasty and nutritious than anything we have from plants or animals.

Unless you’re trying to change someone’s mind, why strive for internal consistency at all? I like animals; I hate killing; I like meat. Over time, I think this will push me in the vegetarian/vegan direction, but the contradiction does not bother me in and of itself.

Most people know how meat is prepared. Keep in mind that the worst of what we do still isn't as bad as a typical death in the wild, where animals are either eaten alive by a predator or die from starvation.

I can't deal with it. I've been a vegetarian since I was 12.

There is no inherent cognitive dissonance from eating meat, so if you feel that then it's on you and your morals. I'm not sure anyone here can decide how to fix that for you.

So...denial then?

Nope. I know this might come as a shock, but some people think differently than you! I have killed animals for my own meat before and didn't feel a thing, except a little grossed out that there was blood on my hands. Meat is not murder. You are free to feel differently but that doesn't make me "in denial".

Regardless of whether you feel something when you slaughter animals, you are aware that animals feel pain and suffer, no?

The post was talking about the current mass-production system of meat prpduction, with slaughterhouses and terrible conditions for the animals. It's easy to forget that when you see the final product.


I do not think we have a moral obligation to eliminate the suffering of animals. Reduction of it is always preferable but sometimes not feasible. Take from that what you will.

I went vegan.

There are a lot of people that get really upset when they get reminded that the meat they are eating used to be a living, breathing animal.

I used to be a hunter (I'm now a vegetarian, but I gave up hunting for other reasons long before becoming vego), and a lot of people got really upset about me killing "innocent deer", like somehow a deer is more deserving of life than cattle in a field.

I remember a while ago there was a picture of a 13 year old girl eating the raw heart of the first deer she killed. There was a horde of people who were incredibly upset, people were calling it cruel, calling the girl's father abusive, etc. etc. At the end of the day though, it's a dead animal, no different from the beef you get all nicely plastic wrapped at the supermarket.

It's the same thing with people getting upset about different cultures eating dogs or horses. At the end of the day, they're all animals. There's no fundamental difference between a pig and a dog.


Not to detract from your overall point, which I agree with, but I'd like to clarify "it's still moving" =/= alive. I grew up in a coastal town in Australia so fished a heck of a lot, you can completely sever the head and the body can still "swim" or move around for quite a while - especially in salt water.

This seems to be why the 3rd step is necessary in Ike Jime even after crushing the fish's brain.

As a side note too, my personal opinion would be that thinking of fish as feeling pain in the same way we do, is anthropomorphizing them too much. I've seen fish missing half their body see some food float past and still try to swim after it and eat it. They clearly don't have the same capacity to process incoming signals as we do, nor does that processing result in anything close to the same cognitive stress. A man cut in half wouldn't worry about food no matter how hungry he might be.

To take the absurd extreme example, I wonder how much "suffering" I'm inflicting on the worms or insects that I put on the hooks.


Just #FishPedantry, a quick kill is an important part of ike jime, and quicker kills are also more humane. But the best-known and probably most important aspect of ike jime is the spinal cord destruction (the bit where they jam a wire down the fish's spine), which supposedly prevents pattern generator neurons in the spinal column from generating the autonomous swim reflex, which reflex depletes ATP in the killed fish and also makes postmortem rigor harsher.

So I think Dave Arnold actually did a triangle test on this stuff with three kinds of fish, and for two of them, the spinal cord destruction had a marked impact.


Seems cutting the fillets off would achieve the same thing without the ritual.

Don't you need to bleed the fish out before you cut the fillet? Also, don't you butcher the fish as the last step before actually cooking it?

> Don't you need to bleed the fish out before you cut the fillet?

Especially for smaller fish, it's common to not bleed them at all. I've only cleaned fish myself a couple of times, but I've never bled them.

> Also, don't you butcher the fish as the last step before actually cooking it?

The distinction between these steps isn't always clear. Unlike mammals, fish are pretty anatomically simple, especially small ones. So the entire fish prepping process is little more than cutting a fillet off each side.


Somehow, I just assumed that it was completely standard to quickly crush the brain with pliers. If not doing that, maybe you'd chop off the head. This keeps the fish from lashing about with sharp spines that might get you with poison or pierce a raft.

When I was a kid my dad cut the head off a fish (first thing he did) when he was cleaning it. It was on the ground and the mouth still moved and the eyes looked around. He said it was "reflexes" of which I translate to non-conscience movements as an adult.

I really don't think any of the examples your provide were really any different.


I buy live dungeness crabs from Asian markets. They are hard to kill. They fight back. Eventually, I figure out ways to kill them faster. Longer suffering is more traumatic. When I was a kid, I saw my dad killed chickens. He was skilled enough to save blood to make blood cubes in soup. But not everyone (men and women) can do this.

ike jime has quite the contrast with koi-no-ikizukuri [1].i find it interesting that they both come from the same 'place'.

[1] https://www.futilitycloset.com/2015/05/25/a-disturbing-dinne...


I've only fished once, in a commercially stocked trout lake. The instructions we were given said to net the fish and bring it in, then bash its head against a rock to kill it quickly. I'd always assumed that was standard procedure - strange to find otherwise.

When I was on a fishing trip, the guide would strike the heads of the fish to kill them before putting them in the cooler. It seems brutal but is much more humane then letting them suffocate while on ice.

This is probably a better overview for the HN crowd:

http://www.cookingissues.com/category/ike-jime/


Interesting website. My cooking skills are very basic, but now I'm interested in getting a Searzall.

http://www.cookingissues.com/index.html%3Fp=6031.html


David Arnold, the man behind cooking issues and the searzall, is awesome and super-smart. He also has a weekly podcast by the same name[0] that I find enjoyable. He's basically a mad scientist w/ food + drinks. His bar in Manhattan[1] is crazy cool. He's also done a lecture series at Harvard[2] if you're interested in learning more about the science/engineering of food.

As far as the Searzall goes; very cool product. If you get in to Sous Vide it's definitely one of the better ways of finising a protein. I still default to a broiler or hot cast-iron because it's often easier + faster w/ similar results. But, I still use the searzall ~weekly just as a hand-held broiler for toasting things. hah

0- https://heritageradionetwork.org/series/cooking-issues/

1- https://goo.gl/maps/V8zXdyBwNJE2

2- https://www.youtube.com/user/Harvard/search?query=dave+arnol...


Existing Conditions is probably my favorite bar in the world. I think nowhere else can you get (relatively) unpretentious drinks that are as perfectly executed. (And if you read Dave's Liquid Intelligence, you'll know why.)

Where can you buy the Searzall? They only link the to finished Kickstarter?

Amazon is the exclusive retailer. It sells out often and Amazon has been very bad about putting it back in stock, so if you're interested in one, waiting can be frustrating.

You'll also need to buy the torch and propane canisters.

(Amazon recommends the tall skinny canisters, but that's not safe. Get the squatter, coleman canisters)


On top of the Amazon answer, I think you're sometimes able to get it off of Modernist Pantry [1].

[1] https://www.modernistpantry.com/booker-and-dax-searzall.html


The Searzall is on Amazon[0] and as mentioned you'll need a torch like this[1]! It's actually in stock right now so if you want one within the net 6 months I recommend buying it. They sell out quickly and they're manufactured in laggy batches. You'll also need to buy some of the propane locally. Their challenges with Amazon comes up regularly on their podcast... apparently it's been lots of headaches.

0- https://amzn.to/2MQOZzb

1- https://amzn.to/2DW7lvU


Nice referral links

My friend bought something similar when he got a sous vide circulator, and let me tell you... it really works. You get the perfectly cooked steak, plus that Maillard reaction we all know and love. It’s also killer for anything you want to melt cheese over, to get that lovely brown crust.

Ever had a Hot Brown? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_Brown

It’s the tastiest massive coronary you’ll ever have.


I'm honestly flabbergasted that Mornay sauce isn't more popular, given that it can be stored in the fridge for up to a week: it's the only reliable way to (consistently) achieve perfectly browned cheese on bread. I put a thin layer on toast, broil it for 2min, and then top it with caviar and watercress. Great way to get Omega-3s in the morning.

Many (most?) mac and cheese recipes involve making a mornay sauce, but they rarely call it that. The slightly more informed recipes will actually call it a béchamel sauce and then have you add cheese.

I really hate that when I'm reading a recipe, if it just said "make a mornay sauce with 4 oz cheddar and 4 oz gruyere" you'd cut out 3 steps from the recipe. It's loop unrolling for recipes.


Unfortunately, recipes tend to be made for people who don't know how to cook, or are unfamiliar with the terms and techniques of the cuisine.

There are plenty of recipes that are made for people that do know the basics, or where the basics are literally factored out separately in the same cookbook. The latter is more common in large cookbooks with fairly deep coverage, the former in ones targetting a more specialized, experienced audience.

Just another data point: I have an Anova Immersion circulator and have made some good steaks with it, but in my experience, reverse searing works even better [1]. Reverse sear entails pre-cooking the steak in your oven at a lower temperature and then searing.

The steak from the oven is less wet compared to sous vides so it sears better. The crust tastes better than a sous vides steak.

[1] https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2018/10/reverse-seared-s...


Very popular technique with the kamado/bge crowd. Can confirm it sears much better than the sous vide.

A hot cast iron is just as good. I'd recommend against buying special purpose cooking equipment until you actually get into cooking. Otherwise your kitchen cabinets are going to be filled with doodads that you pull out once every 18 months.

I have one. It's just okay. It's great for finishing things melting cheese on dishes, etc., but it's a little under-powered for searing a steak nicely, especially if there's any moisture present. It's fine for one steak. For two or three, the first would get cold before the others were ready.

If, for example, you were intending to prepare a meal for yourself and your romantic partner, I would recommend getting two. I doubt there are many things more attractive than being fed tasty food by a person dual-wielding a couple of torches.


Trying to use two at once sounds dangerous, and you'd lose the ability to move the meat around so that searing the edges of the steak would be very difficult. An equally sexy option is a deep fryer.

I've found that the searzall has a relatively steep learning curve. The learning curve is more like a knife than a pan. The kind of person who is buying the searzall is probably not used to being unskilled with a kitchen tool; I certainly wasn't.

I've successfully seared four porkchops with it, with none of them getting cold. The trick is getting each chop up to the searing point, where you can see bubbling on the surface, and then keeping it there. It's a little like spinning plates. You have to get them all going, but once they're there you only need to give each a little push once in a while. That also gives me a more satisfying crust than if I blitz through in a single pass.

Searing both before and after the immersion circulator is a strong option. I believe Dave Arnold recommends it (or deep frying) for folks interested in maximum crust formation.

It's really a transformative tool because it allows such high heat with such fine precision. It's my preferred tool for cooking the top of an egg that I still want a runny yolk. Also useful in any kind of home pizza-making. I've occasionally brought it to the office, though only when there's an outdoor space I can use.


Oh, the egg thing! I've done that. It's great for that. Definitely brought mine to work to crisp up an entire porchetta. I want to try it on steak that's been reverse-seared, I wager that starting with a dry surface will work much better.

Add hair-dryed steak to the list of experiments: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/annals-of-gastronomy/yes-i...

Yeah, that's my impression too, you need to pat them very very dry, which might take time if you sear them directly from e.g. a sous vide bag. I still use it to sear single steaks, because the fire alarm is a bit overzealous and the searzall creates less smoke than a Cast Iron skillet.

I use my air fryer to sear (highest temp, checking every two minutes), and it seems to work very well for my taste. Although, admittedly, I don't have much else to compare it to except what I've tasted from other's cooking.

Wow, the fish scaling using a yanagi is impressive!

Given that it's on the Michelin website, it may interest you to know that Japan is tied for 1st for number of restaurants with 3 Michelin stars.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Michelin_3-star_restau...

It has a stunning 25 restaurants. For a population of 126 million. The runner up, USA, has 15 restaurants with twice the population.

As a frequent traveler Japan, I can say from personal experience, it is hard to find a bad meal in Japan.


> The runner up, USA, has 15 restaurants with twice the population.

I believe I read that Michelin doesn't really evaluate most of the USA as part of its starring guide. For example, this [1] indicates that LA is not in the coverage area for the Michelin star system. Smaller cities like Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas, etc. are therefore invisible despite having tons of people in aggregate. (Apparently the size of geographic regions and cost are factors.)

Would be interesting to see the US ratio compared with population in the cities actually covered here.

1 - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2016/06/01/did-t...


It doesn't. This has been an issue in Minneapolis, one of the best food scenes in the country. We've had restaurants that could legitimately compete for Michelin stars, but not a lot of interest in them coming here to look.

I know of at least one place in Minneapolis that is now shooting for a star or two. There's a lot of preparation involved, far beyond the food alone.


Which are these places in mpls?

Piccolo (now closed) was certainly on that level. Spoon and Stable probably is too.

I know of at least one place that is actively trying to earn one, but I'm not naming names...


How about just favorite tasty spots for us locals...

I like Quang's for pho and Vietnamese food, Guavas is a new Cuban/Caribbean place that is quite good.

The fancier places would be something like Spoon and Stable and Bellecour, who have the same chef. Their quality would probably be on par with a mention in the Michelin guide but no star. I have a tendency to go with cheaper food at home and splurge when I'm traveling, so I do not have a good sample of the fine dining restaurants in MPLS.

There's a pretty good kaiseki restaurant in the north loop, but I can't remember the name. They have a very good Japanese whisky bar above, if you are willing to pay through the nose for Japanese whisky.


Ok, some favorite tasty spots... (most are cheap, some are expensive)

Big Daddy's BBQ, iPho (aka Saigon), Bull's Horn, Sandcastle (summer only), Gandhi Mahal, Eat Street Social, Harry Singh's Caribbean, Pimento, Sen Li Sen Lek, Tongue in Cheek, Travail, Ngon Bistro, Black Sheep Pizza, Hai Hai, Spoon and Stable, Bachelor Farmer, Revival, Brasa, Zen Box Izakaya, Manny's Tortas, Moroccan Flavors, Matt's Bar, Al's Breakfast, Lindey's, Bar La Grassa, 46th St Patisserie...

I can probably come up with more, but that should keep you busy for months.


One my gripes with "michelin star" system is that it is heavily tilted towards European and Japanese food. There is absolutely no Indian, South American, Mediterranean, Thai, or Chinese restaurants (albeit few though) in it's catalog. They are pretty much missing the diverse and exceptional gastronomical experience in doing so.

EDIT: Small change, looks like there are few Chinese restaurants!


They are pretty transparent about that fact.

There are obvious factors that contribute to a restaurant being visited by Michelin judges, not the least of which is its location relative to other restaurants that are visited. There is also the matter of judges needing to be familiar with a cuisine in order to judge it properly. Without extensive knowledge of ingredients, preparation methods and presentation patterns it is difficult to issue a Michelin rating. If they do not know the culinary landscape how do you imagine they will issue a rating? Doing so would destroy their credibility as a knowledgeable school of critics.

There used to be zero stars in Japan but that has changed over time as the Michelin system has embraced the cuisine and visa versa. It is easy to point out that many cuisines are not represented in the Michelin guide but what are the alternatives? That a limited number of people learn everything there is to know in an instant? That the ratings become so arbitrary that they are meaningless? There is nothing in the Michelin guide that claims that good food cannot be found elsewhere. I fail to see the controversy in a publication that is seemingly doing what it can to stick to what it knows while progressively broadening its horizons.


>> If they do not know the culinary landscape how do you imagine they will issue a rating? Doing so would destroy their credibility as a knowledgeable school of critics.

By hiring more inspectors?

I'm not saying there is cultural bias or something like that. I'm just pointing out the fact that they have certain cuisines that are not represented.

If you consistently claim to be - "the world’s best known independent restaurant and hotel guide" with proudly boasting 100 odd year history, then you better show gastronomic variety. Else it just seems weird.

[1] From their twitter handle description - twitter.com/MichelinGuideUK


It is a business, so I imagine the fairness goal ultimately serves that end. Expanding the rating system probably has to be driven by demand and there has to be a cost/benefit trade-off. Can anyone comment on the comparability of Michelin star ratings between cultural regions?

I don't think they're missing out - they probably enjoy a good Indian restaurant as much as we do. But for what they measure, that's tilted toward a certain kind of presentation that is predominantly done by French and Japanese restaurants. It's not just about the food, and how enjoyable the food is. It's about the wine selection, the interior decoration, and a whole host of other things.

Rather than resenting the Michelin system for not representing the kind of restaurants we love, maybe just recognize that it's not supposed to do that, and find other ways to find and measure restaurants that don't fit the Michelin data model?


> But for what they measure, that's tilted toward a certain kind of presentation that is predominantly done by French and Japanese restaurants. It's not just about the food, and how enjoyable the food is. It's about the wine selection, the interior decoration, and a whole host of other things.

Michelin stars are awarded based on food "quality" alone [1]:

> the quality of ingredients used, the skill in food preparation, the combination of flavours, the value for money, the consistency of culinary standards.

[1] https://guide.michelin.com/hk/en/hong-kong-macau/features/5-...


So why is their such a tilt toward expensive French, Japanese, and modernist restaurants? Sure, they even give stars to a couple of food carts now, but how recent is that development?

This is not to say they aren't improving. But it does say that they didn't always live up to their own stated standards.


FWIW, there is a food cart in Singapore that has a Michelin star -- Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle. Not so much as far as interior design or wine selection goes.

This might interest you but it's in the context of Australia

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-27/asian-food-fine-dinin...


That's not actually true.

Also, Michelin gives awards for fine dining, meaning a specific style of service. Any type of restaurant that meets the service requirements can be awarded Michelin stars, there's a Nigerian restaurant in London that's recently been awarded a star.


> There is absolutely no Indian

The Michelin Guide itself disagrees: “The Michelin Guide isn't in any of the Indian cities but that doesn't mean the red book is void of the subcontinent’s cuisine. In fact, Indian restaurants are listed in most of the territories with the Guide, some of which are in truly surprising cities. Tokyo for instance, is home to three Bib Gourmand rated Indian eateries, while the first Indian restaurant awarded with a Michelin star in Asia happens to be in Macau.”

https://guide.michelin.com/hk/en/hong-kong-macau/travel/8-mi...

Also:

https://guide.michelin.com/us/san-francisco/indian-pakistani...

Two 1-star, One “The Plate”, and Five “Bib Gourmand” in SF Bay.

> South American

Alex Atala’s D.O.M.in São Paolo is a two-star “contemporary Brazilian” restaurant, the first counterexample I could find.

> Mediterranean

https://guide.michelin.com/us/san-francisco/mourad/restauran...

> Thai

https://guide.michelin.com/us/san-francisco/kin-khao/restaur...

EDIT: On review, you might have been referring to geography rather than cuisine, so we’ll do that again from that perspective to cover all bases.

> Indian

As noted above, geographically, that's correct

> South American

https://guide.michelin.com/br/rio-de-janeiro

https://guide.michelin.com/br/sao-paulo

> Mediterranean

Also a valid point, geographically.

> Thai

https://guide.michelin.com/th/bangkok

> Chinese

https://guide.michelin.com/hk/hong-kong-macau

https://guide.michelin.com/tw/taipei


Sorry to be annoying, but as a Brazilian who constantly sees people making this mistake - it's São Paulo, not Paolo. Paolo is the Italian version of the name Paul, Paulo is the Portuguese (also Spanish) version.

But hey, at least you got the til (~ diacritic) right. A lot of people don't even know that's a thing.


>> Mediterranean

>Also a valid point, geographically.

Surely there must be loads of michelin-starred restaurants within the various Mediterranean culinary regions.


That appears to be correct for at least Greece and Italy, and France and Spain though, despite geography, they are usually not intended when people talk about Mediterranean cuisine (also, people often single out the European Mediterranean cuisines individually and use “Mediterranean” more for the cuisines of the African and Southwest Asian coasts); navigation on the Michelin Guide website has some bizarre path dependencies where what seems to be available depends on where you jumped in from, which I think contributed to me overlooking that before.

But there is no Michelin coverage for Africa or for Asia outside of East Asia. Unless I haven't found the right secret path into the guide.


Any chance you could name some Indian restaurants that deserve 3 stars but haven't got them?

I'm not sure if I can answer that as I don't know their rating system. However, I'm confident of the fact that if they have inspectors who have expertise in Indian food then there will be dozens of restaurants from different Indian cities alone. Every part of India has unique food offerings and diversity. Street food alone has so much to offer in India. Now ever popular dishes (across the globe) like Butter Chicken were invented in few restaurants in New Delhi around 70-80 years ago.

[1] Butter Chicken - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter_chicken


My favorites in New Jersey are Mehndi (Morristown) and Moghul (Edison). They're operated by a family from Goa. Also many of the staff.

Both of these look pretty nice, but after some tripadvisor-sleuthing I'm not really convinced that they're quite "michelin-quality". One strong clue would be the apparent lack of a sommelier.

Which doesn't necessarily mean the food isn't "Michelin-quality," it just means that the whole experience isn't "Michelin-quality."

A Michelin star doesn't just come from the literal taste of the food (or the presentation), it comes from every aspect of the restaurant and staff - down to the very cleanliness of the curtains.


Well, Moghul is maybe a little boisterous for Michelin style. Because the bar and restaurant are contiguous. But I don't recall anything negative about Mehndi.

And then there's Nirvana in Manhattan, at penthouse level on on Central Park South. Beautiful cityscape at night. But it's really Bangladeshi, and they don't do Vindaloo.


I'm not sure how relevant that is for traditional Indian. But then, I'm not Indian.

It's relevant for the michelin guide :) I'd also argue that most michelin starred restaurants are hardly traditional.

Wines don't seem like a major aspect of traditional Japanese, Indian or Chinese food. So what would a sommelier do?

Or are you arguing that Michelin just wouldn't rate traditional Japanese, Indian or Chinese restaurants highly?


I've seen sake sommeliers, most of the upscale Indian places in London have not just a wine sommelier, but they also offer excellent cocktails.

Unfortunately I'm not super familiar with nicer Chinese food, but I'd presume that it's not incompatible with drinks either.

I'm not saying that you need to have a sommelier, I'm just saying that the lack of a sommelier is usually a pretty good sign that a restaurant isn't even trying for a star (extremely few restaurants are!).

I don't think Michelin would tend to rate any "traditional" restaurants very highly, to get stars you need to offer the specific Michelin experience.


Rasa in Burlingame is an Indian restaurant with one star.

there's a bunch of chinese restaurants. not sure about the others

One of the things that surprised me the most about Tokyo was the variety of “pretty good” cheap food. The “fast casual” equivalent was far better quality than whatever it would be in the US.

Right! Especially meals that would be considered "a dinner out" in the USA, e.g. incredible ramen can be had fast for lunch, and relatively cheap.

Don't forget about gyudon :)

Yes, it's incredible. Almost as many in Tokyo alone as in the entire USA.

You'll notice too that Japan (along with other Asian locations) received their first Michelin star in only 2008.

European restaurants have stars dating from the 1960s, so this is really just the beginning for the East.

When they finally get around to surveying Bangkok I've little doubt we'll see our first street-food Michelin star.


> European restaurants have stars dating from the 1960s, so this is really just the beginning for the East.

My sense is that it's more that the Michelin inspectors have only started to explore the East (Tokyo in 2007). I've always felt that Michelin inspectors were late to the scene.

Excellent restaurants have probably existed in the East long before this. I've visited many Asian countries and the food culture and passion for food there exceeds that of many European countries (and I've eaten at Basque restaurants).



Neat, I had no idea. Michelin-star food for $2 is a steal!

> it is hard to find a bad meal in Japan

I'm a fan of the food and dining experience in Japan but I disagree with this blanket statement. Okonomiyaki is pretty awful. Ramen is rubbish (cheap, non-nutritional noodles remain cheap, non-nutritional noodles however you dress them up). Japanese curry is pretty repulsive stuff and an insult to the sub-continent tradition. I could go on.


That's just your personal taste... They're all popular and I have nothing bad to say to those.

Michelin rating is prestigious in Japan, but Japanese customers are going to be equally/more impressed by a 3.9+ rating on Tabelog.

It's important to note that this method of slaughter is also considered more humane, and for the same reason why the fish tastes better when prepared this way. Because the fish's body is not flooded with stress chemicals like it is when the brain is not destroyed first and its blood remains inside.

In other words the usual fish slaughter method leaves the fish alive as it slowly suffocates to death and then is killed. This results in muscles filled with lactic acid and other bad things.


>body is not flooded with stress chemicals like it is when the brain is not destroyed first and its blood remains inside.

I've heard both sides of this but have never actually seen any evidence. Some cultures, portions of China for example, believe the opposite - the more stressful death leads to more delicious meat.

I'm for the least stressful death for ethical reasons, but I'd be curious if there's any resources you've found that demonstrate for example your lactic acid point?


Both arguments seem quite hokey and not really rooted in science.

When muscle gets cut off from it's blood supply, it produces lactic acid through anaerobic respiration. That's regardless if the nervous system is sending out "stress signals".

It's pretty hard to kill an animal and not produce stress (the physiological kind) response in it's tissue.

The nervous system is also more than just the brain. For example your spinal cord can receive and send signals to your limbs that don't even pass through the brain.


Other commenters have posted good links, but in very large fish such as tuna, you can see macroscopic effects of this muscle degradation.[1] It's not so much an effect of the "stress hormones" in the body as just the fish overexerting itself as it flounders about in the boat, while also asphyxiating. And you're right about the spinal cord still being able to send signals to the body without the brain, which is why the full procedure is not only to destroy the brain but also the spinal cord, by inserting a rod or monofilament down the length of the spine.

[1] http://panaquatic.com/burnt-tuna-and-how-to-prevent-it/



That explanation seems pretty hokey to me as well.

The pictures of the muscle are when the fish is alive (overcrowding). That I can believe.

But drawing a distinction between just cutting the dishes head off versus an elaborate process laid out? I haven’t seen any evidence it matters.


From another article linked in the comments:

> Compared to red meat and poultry, fish muscle is delicate. It needs all the structure it can get. So unlike red meat, where we like a little protein breakdown to enhance tenderness, anything that breaks down the structure of fish muscle is bad. Stress causes fish muscle tissue to break down.


This might help: http://www.cookingissues.com/index.html%3Fp=5661.html (shared elsewhere in the comments here).

Vox's Future Perfect podcast did a good episode on this, too: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/11/14/18091698/futur...

For those who want to see what the whole process looks like in reality, there is youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WLSdKunI2Y


Thanks! Was about to open another tab to search for that!

> After all, key to good sushi and sashimi is in ageing the fish, allowing the enzymes to break down and moisture to evaporate, resulting in a concentrated flavour.

Can someone elaborate / explain? I always thought that the main quality in sushi and sashimi fish is its freshness. The fresher the better, to the point where shops might even keep the fish alive in aquariums.


I think there is a sweet spot of age if, I think 4 to 7 days (frozen), otherwise for many sushi eaters it’s too bland. The freshness = quality is something pushed by restauranteurs taking advantage of people’s naïveté regarding sushi and sashimi.

Incidentally, one of the first things which made Japan-US flights viable (back in the ealy '70s [1]) was packing the cargo holds with frozen fish meant for sushi restaurants, from catch to restaurant took about 3 days which made it fit nicely, time wise.

[1]https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/when-fish...


Fish used in sushi is almost inevitably frozen, or you’d have a mouthful of extremely rubbery, almost crunchy fish. Remember also that the original sushi was fish fermented in salted rice for a while. As the availability and taste for fresher fish grew, along with modern refrigeration it was discovered that you get a better texture with fish that had been frozen immediately after slaughter.

This, it is important to note, is only really the case with large, slow-growing pelagic fish like tuna.


Freezing also kills some potentially zoonotic parasites that may be present in fish.

Unless you're buying it straight off the docks, or pulling it out of the water yourself, any unfrozen fish you see has likely been thawed on site, after delivery.

"Fresh" fish means that it was frozen on the boat, and just thawed today.

I sometimes make nigiri sushi by sawing slices off of a frozen fish filet with a kitchen-use-only coping saw. Then I put it in the fridge for the next day. Comes out fine. If I wanted, I could freeze the rice with it, and have sushi later in the week.


I have had sushi that was completely fresh — literally a tuna I caught myself, carried off the boat, cut up and ate. The taste and texture was fantastic.

You are right that almost all fish you eat has been frozen. This is partially for practical reasons: fishing boats are often at sea for weeks at a time. Also for safety reasons: most fish have a significant risk of parasites which are killed by deep freezing.

Tuna is one of the few fish safe enough to eat fresh and raw (and even then there is some amount of risk).


Generally, sushi grade fish is frozen to kill any potentially harmful parasites.

The FDA recommends -4°F or below for 7 days ( which any freezer today can do ).

https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/UCM252...

Also, most fish used for sushi are those that a generally less likely to have parasites that harm humans ( like tuna for example ). Wild fish like salmon, cod, etc are rife with parasites. The japanese historically never used salmon for sushi until farmed salmon became available. Farmed salmon do not have parasites because their feed is controlled - similar to how modern cows, pigs, etc do not have parasites as a result of farms controlling their feed.

https://www.norwayexports.no/norways-introduction-of-salmon-...

People love to attack farmed fish, beef, pork, etc as being unhealthy, but they don't realize that farmed meat has helped wipe out a significant portion of harmful parasites from the west.


Consider it’s frozen (sometimes more than once) to kill parasites anyone claiming to taste freshness, beyond spoil, from one restaurant to another is to be taken with a grain of salt.

This. All sushi grade fish (in America at least) has been frozen at least once. I've actually heard people say "I don't eat sushi unless I can see the ocean."

Like they somehow believe that the restaurant employees are just walking down to the beach and plucking fish right out of the water.

You can be in the middle of no-where, hundreds of miles from the nearest bit of salt water, and the fish will be exactly as fresh as the sushi you would get on a beachfront restaurant.


Access to fish markets and sell-through rates are more important than proximity to an ocean. But places near oceans tend to place more importance on seafood, so they probably have better markets.

While this may be true, you will still have to pry my ski resort mountain-top lodge sushi from my cold, dead, prefrozen hands.

>But places near oceans tend to place more importance on seafood

Yeah, $10 fish and chips sold for $20 tourist trap restaurant that would be out of business anywhere else maybe.

I grew up near the ocean where fishing was the #2 industry behind tourism (if you ignore all the trades that support the tourism industry). I know how that sausage is made.

I'd rather eat prepared seafood in Des Moines. At least there the relationship between what you pay and what you get will be more consistent.

>Access to fish markets and sell-through rates are more important than proximity to an ocean

Fully agree.


Yeah but interior sushi restaurants aren't picking out the fish themselves like nicer places on the coast, just ordering in bulk through some wholesaler/fishmonger

The fish in the middle of no-where might be just as fresh but also has a pretty ceiling for fish quality


I believe all of the best sushi places in Japan have their own ideal "recipe" for serving fish, and none of it is fresh. Flavor and textures start maturing in fish as the initial stages of fermentation start, much like how the flavor of bread changes the longer it has time to slowly prove.

from TFA:

“There isn’t much difference when we cook a fish with and without ike jime on the first day itself when it’s still fresh,” [chef Dannel Krishnan] explains. “The difference comes in only in the third, fourth and fifth day of aging. The fish that’s prepared by ike jime is still firm, and the flesh is pearly. The one that’s not becomes mushy.”


I always thought that the main quality in sushi and sashimi fish is its freshness.

Nope, not to people who eat a lot of sushi. The point is for the fish to be aged for the correct amount of time to get the correct flavour. The longer it is aged, the stronger the flavour will be, to a point where it is unpleasant. Different people will have different tastes, if you don't eat a lot of sushi, you will probably like it not as strong.

The restaurant wants the fish as fresh as possible, so it has the most control over the ageing process.

There are types of seafood best eaten fresh, and there might be some sushi I'm not aware of like that, but almost always it needs to be aged properly.


Freshly killed fish has weak flavor than aged. I think some people equate aged -> more fishiness, but this is only true up until certain point for poorly prepared fish.

I say that most sushi restaurants in N America go by using sushi grade fish that was probably processed by a fish monger, not the chef.

Aging fish really comes into play for high end sushi, where the chef is after some chemical reactions can only happen over time, it's not rot, it's more like it had time to rest and develop flavors that it would not have had if it was just straight from the fish right after it was caught.


Sushi dates back to before the invention of the fridge. It originated as a series of techniques to preserve fish. Sushi with fresh fish is a relatively modern take on it.

Old style sushi is sometimes called edomae style sushi, and it used various ways of preserving fish such as salt curing, ageing, smoking, braising and whatnot, all to extend the shelf life.


Yeah you can have both aged and fresh sashimi


Interesting experiments referenced. I think I my personal assumption was that fish could maybe feel pain, and insects probably couldn't. But now one of those is answered.

> insects probably couldn't

I saw something (can't find source right now) that insects don't feel pain. The key observation was that insects with injured legs don't favor that leg at all. The evolutionary explanation is that pain is a survival mechanism to avoid further damaging an already-damaged body part; if the organism doesn't live long enough for its body parts to heal, it doesn't benefit from feeling pain.


I asked myself this a while back when I was feeding my tarantulas their weekly crickets and from my brief searches it seems like there isn't a general consensus on if inverts do or do not feel pain, but most people lean towards no. One big indicator for this was the fact that various insects have been observed to not react or notice at all when they are being eaten. I've anecdotal observed this myself sometimes where crickets do not seem to realize they are currently being eaten by a giant tarantula.

> do fish feel pain?

Yes, of course they feel pain.


I remember catching mackerel on a line while on a sailing trip once. None of us really knew how to do fishing, so we beat them to death with a bilge pump handle. It took ages. I don't think that was ike jime.

When hearing about cooking things the one or the other way, I always wonder if the difference in taste is significant. If you'd do a double-blind study, would you see (taste?) a significant difference?

Yes, if you developped the taste for it. If you repeatedly savor something, you will become very familiar with it's taste and notice subtle variations. But you need to savor it slowly and be intent about it, not just consume it rapidly while thinking about other things.

The fun part is that it doesn't have to be fancy. Wine is probably the most extreme example as there's a heavy push to equate fancy (expensive) with tasty but very often the 2 don't correlate. While my favorite wines are from the Burgundy area and can reach insane prices, I will thoroughly enjoy a $4 Vinho Verde.

I've mostly eliminated soda from my diet but recently went back to enjoying the Mexican Coca Cola made with cane sugar. It comes in small bottles. I sip it slowly and enjoy it over the course of an entire meal—still my favorite pairing if I'm going to grill my own hamburgers—and of course with water on the side. It's a very different experience than guzzling an enormous amount of fountain soda with a straw.


There have been numerous double blind tests of wine that show an astonishing lack of difference based on price. The adjectives you use are also common in audiophiles who seem to value very expensive speaker cables etc.

Funny you should mention audio because I enjoy really good audio but on equipment that's often cheaper than run-of-the-mill equipment (and certainly way cheaper than the audiophile hype). Again it comes down to listening and savoring the differences, not the price tag. And a cheap extension cord is more than sufficient when it comes to speaker cables. ;)

> Wine is probably the most extreme example as there's a heavy push to equate fancy (expensive) with tasty but very often the 2 don't correlate.

I would say the poster you're replying to would agree. And while it's true that price is largely unrelated to quality for wine, in blind taste tests, professional sommeliers performing a blind taste test do significantly better than chance when it comes to determining grape variety and country of provenance.[1] Which is to say that there are subtle differences of flavor from wine to wine that are detectable. But again, this is far from saying that expensive wines are better than cheap wines.

[1] https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2017/05/17/think-wi...


Mexican Coca Cola took me down a rabbit hole. An interesting taste test would be comparing sodas you enjoy with corn syrup to their cane sugar counterpart. Cane sugar Dr Pepper changed my life, finding it and convincing store owners to order it can be a hassle.

I suspect that it's often the cumulative effect of several, on their own maybe imperceptible, differences that separates a good dish from a great one.

you should see /u/batbomb's post above. At least in their small study, they did see a significant difference

If you're interested in japanese cuisine and techniques, there is an excellent series of books from the japanese culinary academy. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/series/JCA/the-japanese-c...

The third book is about cutting fish and includes ike jima steps for different kinds of fish


I can't help but feel bad about it, like we really shouldn't be killing anything to eat or to any purpose at all. Yes i'm much more sensibilized than most but we all should be.

If I had to guess, technology in the future will enable us to get there (maybe artificial meat or something). Then future generations will look back at us and judge us hard.

The benefits of being an apex predator.

Just wait until Xenomorphs arrive.

I'm all for making it quick, but the article doesn't inspire confidence that this process is quick. By the time this procedure is carried out, the fish has been hooked, drawn up and out of the water, dropped on the ground, and wrestled into position. That must take at least 2 minutes.

If adrenaline and other transmitters were going to be released, that process should do it, regardless of what happens afterward.


I'm not sure I ever made the connection between Michelin stars and the tire company by the same name until I saw their mascot at the top of the page.

Reading the history it makes sense: To sell more tires give people a good reason to travel.

Are there other examples of this sort of unexpected symbiosis?


[flagged]


Feel free to provide some sources to back up your claim.

Well, I do all those things everyday. I am not sure what kind of proof you want...

That's unclear and unhelpful.

Please don't take HN threads into nationalistic quarrels. That's not the kind of discussion we're looking for here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I have no problem with the concept of killing an animal to eat it. However this method doesn't appear to be humane. Just cut the damn fish head and be done with it already.

The very first step in this is destroy the brain that's wat faster than just cutting off the head and letting it slowly die of hypoxia. After the pithing everything is just dealing with autonomic systems to prevent muscles from working and building up lactic acid. After the first step there's nothing there to feel pain.

A brain spike is seen as more humane than decapitation for larger animals like cattle, I imagine the same applies for fish.

And given that this method provably results in less trauma byproducts than traditional methods, there is strong evidence that this is a more humane method.


I think the modern western practice owes more to what is most convenient in industrial setting than most considerate to the last moment of consciousness or spirit. fwiw I would personally go with hypoxia over deep brain trauma, of course also hoping it matters little whatever else may or may not be in store.

Cutting off the head of a fish or eel is not as quick a death as you might hope. Destroying the brain is.

You might find this mobidly interesting... http://www.strangehistory.net/2011/02/06/lavoisier-blinks/

Debunked here:

As for the story of the postmortem experiment with Lagrange, no mention is made of it in any of the reputable biographies of Lavoisier. ...

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ed081p629


Oh wow. That really is dark and fascinating, thanks!

I know what this is, and I'm not clicking it.

There's no graphic images. It's not a "shock" or "gotcha" link.

The TL;DR is that the head can stay "alive" for some time after decapitation. The nominal example (see the URL) being Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier who was guillotined during the French Revolution and committed to blinking for as long as he possibly could after being decapitated. There are also more modern examples "thanks" to ISIS.


Oh I didn't think you were trying to trick me or anything. I read about Lavoiser and the guillotine when I was a child and it stuck with me.

The Russian experiment with the reanimated dogs heads... I'll let you google that one yourself.


The method is better than just cutting its head - it starts with quickly destroying the brain.

It’s a fancier pithing process and step one is “scramble the brain”. I don’t see how it’s worse, and it’s probably better.

draining the blood off rapidly and shorting out the spinal column really does improve matters, too.

It’s not all that different in intent from kosher and halal slaughter: minimize pain and suffering, respect the animal, get tastier food while you’re at it.


> It’s not all that different in intent from kosher and halal slaughter: minimize pain and suffering, respect the animal, get tastier food while you’re at it.

Except that this is not the intent for kosher and halal, nor do these methods minimize pain and suffering. In both kosher and halal the animal has to fully conscious when its jugulars are cut, the difference lies mainly in whether the name of god is to be proclaimed over every slaughtered animal (halal) or only on the first and last one (kosher), whether slaughter can be performed by any believer (halal) or only by a specific priest (kosher, only Sachets (a type of rabbi) can perform kosher slaughter), whether the whole animal is considered to be edible (halal) or only its forequarters (kosher) and which animals can be consumed (rabbit, wild hens, shellfish, duck and goose can be halal but they can never be kosher). Kosher and halal were and are ways to identify tribes as being part of a religious group - a form of shared ritual - and probably also contain some vestiges of lore (trichine-infected pork can kill, Red Tide-infected shellfish likewise, a rule which makes sure the animal is fully conscious when slaughtered also gives a reasonable guarantee it is not diseased, etc).

Whacking the animal over the head with a mallet or using a more modern equivalent like a bolt pistol (cattle, horses) or electric shock (pigs) before slitting its throat does tend to reduce suffering when done correctly so it can not be said that kosher and halal lead to 'minimize[d] pain and suffering'.


You are incorrect. I can not speak for halal, but in Kosher slaughter minimizing pain IS a primary goal.

You have completely skipped the stringent rules about the knife in your summary, so perhaps you are just not aware of it.

The knife must be razor sharp - the slightest knick renders it unusable. The knife must be drawn in a single motion, any hesitation, or pressure, while cutting makes the animal not kosher. The location of the cut is precisely defined.

All of the above are there to minimize pain, because the knife is so sharp the animal doesn't feel the pain, any pressure on the wound would also trigger pain.

> or only on the first and last one (kosher)

This isn't correct. Only one blessing is said, and not saying the blessing does not render the animal not-kosher. The blessing is about the shochet, not the animal. This is different in Halal were the blessing is the primary thing that makes the animal halal.

> whether slaughter can be performed by any believer (halal) or only by a specific priest (kosher, only Sachets (a type of rabbi) can perform kosher slaughter)

The shochet is not a priest. Being a shochet is 100% about knowing what to do, and 0% about any kind of special status. Anyone can be a shochet, including women. And you do not need to be a Rabbi, you just need to be trained.

> bolt pistol

A captive bolt pistol has an unacceptable high failure rate. You can NOT consider them more humane than Kosher slaughter.


On the religious details of the status of the shochet and the number and character of formulations uttered by him (or, apparently, her) I can well be wrong, not being an insider and as such only having access to the (often only partly correct) information which is available to outsiders - although there is also the possibility of there being several 'truths' for different rites or sects. This is also mostly besides the point in this context.

On the minimising of pain I'm not wrong. Captive bolt pistols and electric shocks can be misapplied and that certainly happens in some cases. In the majority of cases these devices fulfil their purpose in that they knock out the animal before the knife is applied. This knocking out is instantaneous, contrast that to the slow death by oxygen deprivation which is what happens in halal and kosher slaughter. A sharp knife only makes the cut itself less painful, it does nothing for the minute-long death process which follows.


> although there is also the possibility of there being several 'truths' for different rites or sects

There is not.

> On the minimising of pain I'm not wrong

You are. You are simply misinformed on the topic, yet writing with authority you do not posses.

> for the minute-long death process which follows.

There is no minute-long death process. Insensibility happens within 10 seconds according to Temple Grandin. Additionally when done properly the animal appears not to feel it. (https://www.grandin.com/ritual/rec.ritual.slaughter.html)

I also know this personally because I visited a shechita plant and watched them. The animal collapsed often the moment the shochet removed his knife. To me the worst part of the process was the cattle prods used to move the animal in line (the cattle really hated that). The actual killing was very painless.

> and that certainly happens in some cases

No, it happens in 13.6% of cases (https://faunalytics.org/effective-captive-bolt-stunning/) And when it happens the animal is left in severe pain, and is processed without any further regard to its pain.

Captive bolt stunning is LESS humane then Shechita. Every piece of evidence shows this, but people think "if it's new it must be better".

The only benefit is in cost - Shechita is very expensive because of the necessary training. Captive bolts need little training. But they are not better for the animals.


If that method of slaughter was meant to be humane, it would allow for stunning prior to killing.

Now, back when it was introduced, thousands of years ago, sure, it was humane for the time. But times have changed.


Please see my reply here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19090979

In short: Stunning is not humane, because it fails far too often, and when it fails the animal is left in severe pain.


You are stretching.

Obviously pistols and electric shocks aren't recommended by the Bible. The incompatibility between technological progress and ancient gospel is a different problem, which is why there is a rift between modern "progressive" sects of a religion and fundamentalist sects. For example, see magentzedek.org/animal for a modern kosher.


> which is why there is a rift between modern "progressive" sects of a religion and fundamentalist sects.

Fundamentalism (with a capital-F), which is the inspiring example from which the more general concept of “fundemantalism” is derived, is actually one of the younger branches of Christianity. It's even one of the younger branches of Protestant Christianity.

This is actually true fairly generally; fundamentalist sects tend to be products of reactions against modernism being perceived to influence the core religion rather than being the oldest branches of religion.


All of these methods are not equal nor about tastier foods. Both of those are ideological lawfulness. My point is not denigration, Kosher and Halal for the most part stuns animals just like nonreligious slaughtering, however there still are traditional outlets that slit the neck of unstunned conscious animals.



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