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Lion Meat, Anyone?


Baccala
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In the 5/14 Ask Tom section a women writes in about 2941 having Lion meat on the menu. Chef acknowledged that it was in fact on the tasting menu served as a schnitzel with morels and fava beans. I am all for trying new food's, however I can not seem to get past the fact that it is a Lion. Wondering what others thought

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In the 5/14 Ask Tom section a women writes in about 2941 having Lion meat on the menu. Chef acknowledged that it was in fact on the tasting menu served as a schnitzel with morels and fava beans. I am all for trying new food's, however I can not seem to get past the fact that it is a Lion. Wondering what others thought

roken Arrow ranch in Texas offers animals like antelope and wild boar that roam somewhat wildly and are shot from marksmen in passing helicopters like in "Running Man". The owner of the ranch said

"I now know not to serve anything too exotic, like rattlesnake, lion, or zebra. They are all available, but because those animals are more like a pet, people aren't as likely to want to eat them. Especially if they were in a children's movie."

Regardless of whether the lions were raised and pampered by vigrins in white linen, that kind of meat may fall into the Pandora meat-box next to the Panda ribeye and bald eagle burgoo; creatures that most of western civilization might see as once majestic and exploited to the brink of extinction by Gargantua's gluttony and greed.

The consumption of all things zoological should be limited to leaner times and absolute necessity as during the siege of Paris in 1870. The zoo was unable to feed the animals and on the 99th day of the siege (Christmas Day) restauranteurs bought the beasts and served stuffed ass's head, elephant consomme, cats & rats, roast camel a l'Anglaise and kangaroo stew.

Should a category 8 hurricane hit DC this fall (as I am predicting) I recommend the invertebrate section of the National Zoo and the plump seals. Avoid the macaques in heat.

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My brother-in-law was for 15 years an executive chef in a fine-dining restaurant in Pennsylvania. He had a client who loved to try the most unusual foods available. My B-I-L loved this because it challenged his cooking skills.

One day he asked his game purveyor what the most exotic thing he had available that day, and was told "Lion." He asked where in the world the purveyor had gotten it, and was told that it was a euthanized zoo lion.

B-I-L said no way he was going to touch that, and client had to settle for rattlesnake or alligator or something else.

I'm not suggesting that the lion that wound up in Chef Krinn's kitchen was of similar origin, but I have to wonder where it came from, how it was raised and cared for, etc.

Besides: eeewww! :)

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The meat was ranched in Texas as I understand it. My first thought was "wow, that's exotic", followed by "what do you suppose cat tastes like?" Apparently lion cooks rather like pork and is only moderately gamey. They ran out the day before I got there, but a friend of mine says it wasn't all that special.

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Seems to me that the 'revelation' was on the menu itself, since this is a public document at a restaurant and not an underground cabal. Did the poster say if it was good or not? I think I missed this weeks chat.

--Matt

....and a nice Chianti

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The meat was ranched in Texas as I understand it. My first thought was "wow, that's exotic", followed by "what do you suppose cat tastes like?" Apparently lion cooks rather like pork and is only moderately gamey. They ran out the day before I got there, but a friend of mine says it wasn't all that special.
According to the "Ask Tom," the chef says it tastes like veal (which, of course, brings in a whole other issue). I don't know if I'd order it on a menu or not. I guess it would depend on how adventurous I was feeling at the time. My first thought was, where did they get that and is it legal? I assumed that, given the pedigree of the restaurant and chef, it was procured legally. I still don't know if I'd order it or not.
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I'm unable to locate the article in the New Yorker from a month or two past concerning the problems caused by escaped pigs, but the description of truly "wild" boar gave me pause. According to the article, wild boar picks up every parasite and disease out there; which might explain the prohibition against eating any kind of pork product in Judaism and Islam. Unless it is farmed "wild" boar (an oxymoron, I know) or thoroughly cooked, I'm not inclined to indulge. Unless one is starving, it equally doesn't make sense to eat something exotic, particularly if you don't know the provenance or how the animal was raised and/or treated.

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According to the article, wild boar picks up every parasite and disease out there; which might explain the prohibition against eating any kind of pork product in Judaism and Islam.
Anthropologists have killed this theory of why pork became forbidden amongst the Jews and Muslims. The main reason is the inability of ancient people to see the cause and effect of eating pork and getting sick. Trichinosis and other parasitic diseases can take several days before they become symptomatic, so it is unlikely that the people who wrote Deuteronomy would have made the correlation between pork and illness. It is more likely that in an arid climate like the Middle East swine are not an efficient source of protein.

For more reading on this you might want to try “Shiqmim: Pastoralism and Other Aspects of Animal Management in Chalcolithic of Norther Negev Israel” by the University of London’s Caroline Grigson (an informative, but not really very exciting read), or the Smithsonian’s Melinda Zeder’s “Pig and Emergent Complexity in the Ancient Near East” published by the Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology at UPenn.

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Anthropologists have killed this theory of why pork became forbidden amongst the Jews and Muslims. The main reason is the inability of ancient people to see the cause and effect of eating pork and getting sick. Trichinosis and other parasitic diseases can take several days before they become symptomatic, so it is unlikely that the people who wrote Deuteronomy would have made the correlation between pork and illness. It is more likely that in an arid climate like the Middle East swine are not an efficient source of protein.

For more reading on this you might want to try “Shiqmim: Pastoralism and Other Aspects of Animal Management in Chalcolithic of Norther Negev Israel” by the University of London’s Caroline Grigson (an informative, but not really very exciting read), or the Smithsonian’s Melinda Zeder’s “Pig and Emergent Complexity in the Ancient Near East” published by the Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology at UPenn.

I freely admit to ignorance of the history of food practices of various religions. I threw up my hands at reading how the cow became "sacred" in India in "Freedom at Midnight." What I recall from the article in the New Yorker has to do with modern-day people who have captured and butchered wild pigs and found the numerous cited problems. That's really all I need to know at the moment. :) This leads to my point about eating animals whose origins are unknown and whose "problems" are equally unknown. I mean, how many studies have been done on the safety of consuming the meat of lions or tigers or bears, Oh My!
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A Chinese man I met some years ago, told me that he had eaten dog (he pronounced it "delicious") and cat, which he said was not so tasty. It all boils down to various cultural traditions that developed around the protein sources available to them. I don't know that too many cultures choose to eat carnivorous animals, though, if tastier ruminants, birds and rodents are available in adequate supply. The French developed a tradition of eating frogs and snails (and horsemeat); the indigenous peoples of Mexico raised dogs for food and grew fond of crickets, certain worms, iguanas and ant eggs, most still considered to be delicacies, even though more familiar and conventional animal proteins are widely available.

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Not that these are that far out there, but Ostrich and Kangaroo are on the menu for Monday's wine dinner at Evening Star Cafe. The winemaker from Plantagenet - western Australia's oldest winery - is in town & I guess the chefs wanted to make him feel at home.

Want to come? There are seats still available...call Planet Wine to reserve your space (703.549.3444). Menu is available here.

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