Who has not heard that one? Go to any “different” country, or even try a strange-looking item on the menu in a familiar restaurant  (OK, maybe not McDonalds!) and chances are the wait staff will tell you: “Ees good. Tas’es like cheecken. You try!”

But wait! Maybe you don’t have to book a trip to a remote Guatemalan jungle or the Kalahari. Perhaps you have the ingredients right in your own back yard. Grilled goanna, dear? “Tas’es like cheecken!”

We had some spare time (I know-unheard of!) the other day so we wandered around the local Botanic Garden and I snapped a couple of pictures. Especially for my more sheltered readers. 😉 I have some photos of goannas, but not on this computer. What’s a goanna? A big lizard. Not as big or nasty as a Komodo Dragon or a Gila Monster, but they can get to a pretty big size. Here’s a link

But I got the recipe for you!

And, while I was at it, I figured you’d probably want to know how to prepare a python for dinner…

What does a python look like? Well, some of them look like this…

…or this

What else tas’es like cheecken? Well, rattlesnake, according to various sources. Years ago, a friend of mine was travelling across America (Route 66, if you must know!) and he spent some time staying with a relative somewhere in the South West. The cousin came into the house one day with a rattler dangling over his gun barrel. “Dinner!” he said. And, damn! if it didn’t taste like chicken.

Cat also, apparently, tastes the same. Back in the 50s, when Davy Crockett was all the rage, the owner of a Chinese restaurant was prosecuted for having cat meat (masquerading as chicken!) on the menu. He was caught when police tracked a gang who’d been stealing cats for the Davy Crockett caps trade. Apparently, they had a nice little earner on the side!

Rabbit (not wild ones) is another chicken taste-alike. And when I was a kid I told people that huhu grubs (larvae of Prionopus reticularis) or pepe tunga in Maori were like chicken. Mind you, if someone had told me they tasted like peanut butter I’d never have eaten them! I hate peanut butter.

Just enter huhu grubs in Google Images and see what’s there!

Excuse me  for a minute…I have to prepare dinner…

Back again! Had you worried, did I? You thought I was going to forage in the mangroves for  a dinner-sized crocodile (another that “tas’es like cheecken”)? At this time of year there wont be any small crocs around. But that’s OK as we’re having pasta tonight!

And now for something completely different….a book!

This is mine, as in: I bought it, not made it. The maker is Nanette Balchin, an artist from Yeppoon. Sorry, she does not have a website, but I’ll show you some more photos next week. The book is still in an exhibition, red-spotted until I can pick it up. But here’s another piece of Nanette’s. A painting inspired by Vincent van Gogh. No, I didn’t buy this, but someone did.

Back to the kitchen.

OH! Australian readers might notice  the name Les Hiddens below those recipe pages. For those who may not know, he was (maybe still is?) an army Major who had a terrific hit television series called “Bush Tucker” a few years ago. Yes, he popularised the eating of native foods, but is probably best known for his iconic hat. Hang on! I’ll find a photo…

26 thoughts on “TAS’ES LIKE CHICKEN!

  1. ahhhhh your latest post reminds me why I’m so very pleased I’ve been a dedicated vegetarian for the past couple of decades! (me can’t remember what cheekin taste like!) 🙂


  2. I think many of us were made aware of the grub grub you describe through James Vance Marshall’s ‘Walkabout’. But I wonder if at any stage aboriginals on first tasting chicken said Mmm…tas’es like wichetty grubs?


  3. Hm I don’t know about cat, but I once had a dachshund whose hind legs looked perfect for crumbing!!!
    Your book looks lovely – I look forward to seeing more of it. Good on you for supporting another artist.


  4. I used to know someone who grew up eating road kill possum, among other treats. I briefly lived in Southern Indiana in my early 20s. Up until then, I’d never been east of California. The local cuisine, among other things, produced some serious culture shock. I still remember the notice in the paper for the Annual Church Ladies’ Squirrel Fry. Don’t know if they thought it tasted like chicken.


  5. Alligator supposedly is another chicken substitute, but the one time I was in a place where it was on the menu… it was out of season. Who knew alligator had a season? I opted for the shark instead. Which is how I learned I am allergic to shark.
    Whenever someone says something exotic tastes like chicken, my initial thought is, why not save the $ and just eat chicken?


  6. As a child my parents took me on holiday to a south coast resort.
    We went to a restaurant and my father ordered chicken…this was in the days when chicken was a luxury item…long before the battery cages.

    The meal arrived. Father ate a little and then started poking about at the bones, eventually holding up a shoulder blade on his fork….

    This is rabbit.

    Yes…but it tastes like chicken….


  7. Hello Dinah, Thanks for stopping by my blog…yes I agree with you totally. The Tour de France is one sport that is much improved by watching on TV! Though I must say lately it’s hard to watch..that guy hitting the barbwire with his face yesterday was not a pretty site.

    Your blog is super fascinating! I see my friend Amanda has left a comment too. It seems you are a fellow bookmaker. I can’t wait to get a gander at some of your creations.


  8. Great post as usual. I’m now worrying about my Davy Crockett hat, though I think at the time my parents told me it was rabbit. Not that that’s okay with me now, and like Ronnie I can say I no longer remember what chicken tastes like. However, in another life before I gave up meat I did eat alligator in the US and I did think it tasted like chicken.


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