The interviewer’s initials are denoted through the initials BD, while the informant’s responses are marked as WC. WC: My father has an interesting theory about eating pork. Especially because of my own personal beliefs, I don’t believe in eating pork, and he says he know that pork can carry parasites, but parasites don’t eat pork. So his stomach will be fine. I don’t know if it’s some type of weird reverse osmosis type of situation going on, but he believes that because he eats pork, and worms don’t eat pork, pork being in his stomach protects his stomach from worms. BD: Did he get this from one of his parents? WC: One of his older mentors, when he was growing up, just had all types of quirky theories about a lot of things.
Analysis: This is an interesting logical fallacy that instated itself as a personal system of belief. It is also interesting how the informant is now vegan, rather than a eater of pork, like his father. There is also not much scientific backing to it, which explains why the younger generation is hesitant to believe in it. However, both the informant’s father and his mentor believed in it, showing that there is some hold to this belief.
“We didn’t eat meat on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day is fine, but not on Christmas Eve. So we’d eat, like, baccala, which is salted cod. And calamari and other fish and seafood.”
My informant is an Italian Catholic. Refraining from meat on Christmas Eve is one of many cultural traditions practiced by this group. There are certain traditional fish dishes prepared, including baccala. My informant told me that she doesn’t particularly like baccala, and neither does the rest of her family. However, they make and eat it every year because it is traditional to do so.
“If you eat raw meat, hair will grow on your chest.”
David first heard this urban legend from his grandmother who is originally from Mexico. When he was seven, he was very impatient when it came to supper time that he would take a slab of meat before his grandmother was finished cooking it. She warned him that if he ate raw meat, hair will grow on his chest like a werewolf. After hearing that, he became afraid so he stopped picking at the uncooked meat. Contrarily in high school, David had a friend who desired chest hair badly. His friend had heard that urban legend, too, so he always ate raw meat as safely as possible.
I believe that this urban legend came about because devouring meat and chest hair are both signs of masculinity. Hundreds of years ago, men were arduous game hunters. Even now many of the restaurant ads that target men display huge platters of meat. Hairiness is also a masculine quality, especially chest hair. Many young teenage boys are zealous upon spotting their first chest hair because that would signify manliness. Therefore I can see how some people may link eating raw meat to chest hair.