Eating Roo: Of Things That Become Food (New Formations 74, Autumn 2011)

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Publication date: January 1, 2012

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Elspeth Probyn

This essay pursues the processes and obstacles involved in making food out of an animal. Taking kangaroos and roo meat as the object of investigation, the essay follows roo through environmentalist arguments, promotional campaigns, animal activists and decades of Skippy. Following kangaroo entails tracking the interconnections and disconnections between assessments of environmental sustainability and the sentiment that the kangaroo is a ‘friend’; between the association of roo meat as pet food and the attempt to produce a cuisine around it. It also means following roo from Australia to Russia and the Czech Republic. Based on the assumption that food is intractably and simultaneously both cultural and ‘beyond-cultural’ (agricultural, metabolic, biological and so on) the essay argues for a complex description of its phenomenal forms.

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