Wednesday’s TV: Could You Eat An Elephant?

January 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

COULD YOU EAT AN ELEPHANT?, Channel 4, Wednesday 14th January, 10.00pm Alert Me

Riding tenuously on the wave of public indignation over industrial food production, and clinging to the coat tails of the chic Slow Food movement, Channel 4 brings us Fergus Henderson and Jeremy Lee (“two of Britain’s most influential chefs” apparently) as they try to eat their way up the food chain in an attempt to wean us off a sanitised diet of cow, sheep, pig and chicken.

The two chefs take a wonderful, childlike joy in the delicious but also a less appealing delight in the macabre and downright gross. There’s more than a hint of the little boy with a worm on a stick, though they’d probably eat that too. This isn’t really a program about food, not in the way that the press release makes it sound. Instead, it’s as much about the squirm factor of some of the food being served (a personal highlight on that note would be the still beating heart of a cobra). It does serve a purpose, though, as Lee and Henderson examine what it is that makes us willing to tuck into some foods whilst avoiding others. For them, it comes down to a couple of factors – firstly, personal affection and sentiment for the animal, as in the case of dogs (though Lee quite rightly called the pre-slaughter cruelty they’re subjected to “gratuitous”), and secondly the source of the food. It’s not the simple fact of being served rat that is repugnant to them, but rather the idea of eating anything caught in an open sewer, which is fair enough really.

For all its charms, Could You Eat an Elephant fails to deal adequately with the question at hand – we know that we don’t eat things because of their providence or our own sentimental attachment, it’s blindingly obvious. But why is it that the majority of things Lee and Ferguson try, they are left somewhere between disgusted and unimpressed? Is it a product of societal conditioning, or have we just whittled it down to those dishes which really are most suitable for our consumption? The voiceover, too, is grating, as the slightly fey and very posh chefs could carry this program on their own and the backing track seems an intrusion. By the way, the title is a total letdown.

By Chris Harding

tina &leah says:

we have to beautiful dogs&to see such barbaric fucking imbercills showing the killing of dogs was sick and you should be ashamed of your selfs and i hope channel 4 never show things like that again. i bet all or some of you have a dog or dogs at home think how thay would look on some sick bastard plate

melissa and lenny douthwaite says:

most disgusting, cruel programme i haver ever watched……. it is sick and such a shame on them poor dogs,…… hoping something can be done NOW …… it is pure GREED…………………………………………………….

Julie B says:

To Mike T. I don’t eat steak but that’s beside the point. Yes appalling cruelty goes on inside European abbatoirs but two wrongs don’t make a right and it’s nothing compared with how dogs, cats, snakes, pigs and other animals are killed in south east Asia. Most animals in the UK are stunned before they have their throats cut. The killing of animals in Asia is totally unregulated and tying up a dog, stabbing it in the crutch and then ripping its skin from its fully conscious body is a common practice in dog eating countries. The way reptiles such as snakes are killed is nothing short of sick and if you think it’s acceptable to let other creatures suffer in that way simply for ‘exotic’ food then you’re a deeply arrogant and misguided individual with no respect for others, a bit like the twat Bear Grylls in fact.

Most boring show in ages says:

Surely the point of an exotic eating programme is that the presenters actually try eating the various foods on offer. Watching them refuse to eat dog, rat, monkey and eventually elephant made me wonder why on earth Fergus and Jeremy bothered to make a show such as this. I’m now thinking of making my own show in which I travel around the world refusing to eat anything unusual for 90 minutes. Hopefully I can waste some of their time as they did with mine. Can they eat an elephant? No. Can they try anything too out of the ordinary? No.

Mike T says:

So everyone with a dog is disgusted because they ate a dog!! Wow, of course eating a baby lamb is perfectly fine!! Hypocrites! For the record I think the chefs were a bit hypocritical too, perfectly willing to eat horse (which is a noble creature as one can imagine) but unwilling to eat the “majestic” elephant or the “human like” monkey. C4 should have got Bear Grylls to do the show, at least he would have eaten everything so he could give a fair and subjective viewpoint.

For anyone moaning about animal cruelty take a look at an abbatoir and see if your steak tastes as good

Stacey says:

Shame on all you f**kers who think it’s just to kill any animal for profit. You’re Evil and you don’t deserve to be on this Earth. Damn you all to f**king hell.

james c. says:

I observed that the chefs were intoxicated most of the time – presumably being drunk was the only way they could stomach such vile dishes !!
And seeing the farmed dogs suffer so, in such appalling conditions was shocking and disturbing. Channel 4 should consider rescuing some of those poor dogs, rather than filming them being ill treated !!

Julie B says:

Another attempt by Channel 4 to boost viewing figures by dressing up extreme animal cruelty as ‘education.’ Suffice to say I will not be watching the programme as I am not a sadist who enjoys watching others suffer. Shame on Channel 4.

Piers Gladhill says:

It is a joke that they’re being allowed to televise the killing and eating of some of them…I mean, I have a dog, and I don’t want to see dogs getting hurt.

Joya says:

I personally hope that the chefs and the entire production team and whoever authorised this exercise in animal abuse come down with food poisoning.