Q: animal "produce"?

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Mon Nov 24 16:47:59 UTC 2008

On Nov 24, 2008, at 7:11 AM, Larry Horn wrote:

> For me, "meat" does exclude "fish", but this is partly the same
> lexical issue that arises with "cats"/"kittens", "shoes"/"slippers",
> etc., and in particular with "animals", which may include all
> non-plant life but may also be narrowed explicitly in certain
> established cases:  "humans and animals", "animals, birds, and fish"
> but not "animals, mammals, and fish", given that mammals are
> prototype animals.  The inclusive relations of "fish" vs. "seafood",
> as mentioned, is especially weird, and one I suspect we've discussed
> here over the years.

there are various conflicting categorizations and labels here.  as Ron
Butters noted, for ordinary vegetarians, who often say that they
"don't eat meat", the "meat" label covers the full FLESH category in
our previous discussion (meat proper, poultry, and seafood, taken
together).  this way of using "meat" is not infrequently the source of
confusion; you tell someone that a friend "doesn't eat meat", and this
person then serves your friend fish -- because, after all, "fish isn't
meat".  (i've learned to use "vegetarian" in such circumstances.)

that brings me to pescetarians, who avoid meat proper and poultry, but
eat seafood.  so here's a BROAD MEAT category (non-sea flesh), which
plays another role in our culture, at least for those who are familiar
with religious bans on "meat" on fridays or during Lent.  fish,
however, was fine, and meals on "meatless" days tended to involve
eggs, cheese, or fish.  "meat" here denotes BROAD MEAT.

but for many people in many other contexts, "meat" denotes the
category i've called MEAT PROPER: beef, veal, lamb, pork, venison,
rabbit, etc.  several people have suggested "red meat" as the label
for this category, but many are reluctant to call pork or rabbit  (or,
sometimes, veal) "red meat", especially given the advertising campaign
to market pork as "the other white meat".

to make things more entertaining, the wikipedia entry for Red_meat
gives two technical usages: "Red meat in culinary terminology refers
to meat which is red-colored when raw, while in nutritional
terminology, it refers to meat from mammals."  CULINARY RED MEAT
excludes pork, rabbit, and veal while taking in duck and goose, so
it's far from MEAT PROPER.  the nutritional definition, however, picks
out the MEAT PROPER category.

(there's always some indeterminacy in these things.  goodness knows
what people do with turtle meat, alligator meat, frog, snake, etc.  i
assume that they're not acceptable to ordinary vegetarians, nor would
they be acceptable on "meatless" days.  but if your doctor tells you
to "avoid red meat", are they in or out?)


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