A recipe in "Staff Spotlight", the newsletter of the University of Missouri Medical School Department of Surgery, caused some consternation in Columbia, but rest assured, feline lovers, Mizzou docs don't really recommend Kung Pao Kitten as a holiday dish. It was just a joke!
Nonetheless, a concerned (and anonymous) Mizzou employee sent the offending newsletter to the local paper, the Columbia Tribune, with a note that complained that the recipe was "extremely offensive, discriminatory, tasteless and not something that should have been distributed in a professional environment."
The tastelessness is actually still up for debate, since the recipe contained a disclaimer that read, "The tastes and opinions within the Staff Spotlight do not necessarily represent those of all contributors. No animals were hurt in the making of this Spotlight." Which would lead one to believe that nobody actually made the Kung Pao Kitten.
(However, Beppe Bigazzi, host of an Italian cooking show, informed his audiences earlier this year that "tender, white cat meat'' is "tastier than other animals." He drew the ire of animal rights activists and was suspended from his show, even after he protested that kitten was a popular dish in his village in Tuscany back in the 30s and 40s when the fascists were in power.)
The ingredient list for Kung Pao Kitten, as reported by the Tribune, is relatively modest: soy sauce, vinegar and oil for the marinade; peanuts and water chestnuts for the garnish and a kitten halved and then cut into chunks for the protein.
The recipe was submitted by David Kubiak, a care coordinator within the surgery department. Despite the ire of his colleagues, he has not been fired (yet), and Rich Gleba, a school spokesman, declined to tell the Tribune whether he had even been disciplined. It is also unknown whether he has a history of harming cats.
He has, however, apologized.
In the future, Gleba said, the newsletter will be more closely scrutinized by the administration before it's distributed to the 90 staff members of the Department of Surgery.
Roger Worthington, Mizzou's chief diversity officer, said he was not aware of the incident before a Tribune reporter mentioned it to him, but added that he hoped everyone had learned a valuable lesson from this.
Namely, that cat people have no sense of humor.