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…
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…