A very modest proposal
(very freely drawn from "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift, 1729)

Many peoples complain of the high cost of meat, that drives several persons, in particular the less wealthy ones, to give up the consumption of this food of vital importance, with serious damages for their health.
In the same time Italy boasts the world record of nuns' attendances, not only in the Capital, but in every region of the country; it's notorious these creatures cause any kind of serious problems to the life of the nation, since they cannot be assigned to any useful work, but they just waste energies in prayers and other unproductive activities.
The Italian creativity conceived a joint solution for these two problems: we could simply use nuns as producers of high quality meat at a low price.
The wide offer of nun meat on the market could help to make the other meats' prices lower, and this would be good for the citizens' pockets and also for their health and welfare (the citizens', not the nuns').
The idea is not new: in an old sketch of Pippo Franco, a hungry Hindu, when asked: "Why don't you eat cows?" answered: "And why don't YOU eat nuns? Some of them are even good?".
Moreover in the traditional "canzone del Bombabà" an anticlerical song very spread in Latium, "fried nuns" are mentioned, and this appears like an actual culinary suggestion.
The superabundance of nuns is a tipical Italian trait since many centuries, and this could allow to easily obtain from the European Union the recognition of the Protected Designation of Origin, for instance as "
Italian Nun Meat P.D.O.".

Somebody could object that, although the nuns live on the Italian soil since centuries, indeed they have never been used for food, and therefore they would not be a typical Italian food. I deem it would not be difficult to find, in the past history of our country, many episodes in which the nuns have been used for food, and therefore get over this objection.
Others could object that, in consideration of the vocations' crisis, many of the nuns today reared in Italy have a foreign origin, oftentime even from far away countries. Anyway nobody can deny that nuns are reared and fattened for the main part of their life cycle in our country, with foods of Italian production, then their meat must be surely taken as an Italian food product.
On the other hand are similarly labelled as Italian many meat-based products, obtained from animals which are born outside, but fattened in Italy.
From a medium size nun there could be easily yielded at least 7-8 kg of first choice
cuts and 10-12 kg of second choice cuts. As for the farming buildings, the nunneries including a refectory, in which the nun herds are already reared, would be more than enough.
The recurring sanitary emergencies regarding food, and in particular food of animal origin, could be another argument in favour of the production of nun meat: they could be easily reared in isolation/seclusion, feeding exclusively vegetables, and therefore they would be free from zoonoses like BSE, Avian Influenza and Brucellosis, and from epizootic diseases like foot and mouth disease, Bluetongue, IBR or swine pest, not being their species subject to these diseases.
Obviously the use of the different cathegories of nuns should be technically defined, for instance assigning to the fresh meat production only the younger nuns and employing the older ones for salami production, even if many aged nuns, having always carried out a sedentary life, even at a visual inspection look tender and juicy, suited to a direct consumption, at most with the expedient of employing a prolonged cooking.
The typicity of the product could be evidenced including it as an ingredient in ancient regional recipes, creating new dishes, but still linked to the tradition, like the braised Carmelite in Barolo wine, the Piedmontese mixed boiled meat (with Clarisses, Oblates and Dorotheas), the Ursuline-filled tortellini, the macaroni with Franciscan ragout, the Benedictine meat-loaf and the skewered Augustinians.
The nun meat could be integrated in the culinary Italian tradition also in meatless meal, for Christmas eve or Easter, taking the place of the lamb, the capitone eel or the capon.
It would be interesting to evaluate the conversion of peculiar kinds of nuns in meat-based dishes, with an high added value: an example could be the "Mother Superior Culatello" or the "Abbess Salami".
The older nuns or the few ones having at their back an active life, which would yield a stringy and poorly palatable meat, could yield a very good minced meat for hamburgers which, with an adequate commercial launching, could meet the younger consumers' favour: it's fascinating to think of a Vatican approved "Nunburger" to come, or a "McNun" with its characteristic odour of sanctity?
Moreover the scarcely wearisome life of the nuns assures they could give a very soft and downy skin, even better than kids' for gloves, and good also for high quality bags or shoes. It should be needed anyway to strictly forbid the nuns the use cilices or similar sadomaso gadgets, that could impair the skin, or even the meat.
It would be a real pity to loose this great chance to promote again the Italian made products, renewing the Italian food production, though keeping in the wake of tradition, and hoping this novelty not be opposed by pretexts of pseudo-ethical reasons, that would only be the covering to a conservatism frightened by the innovations.

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page last updated: January 6th 2008