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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Aardvark to Zebra

The other night I had Escargot for the first time. For those who are in that same category they tasted like mussels, which didn’t surprise me. As we were eating them we talked about Amy’s idea that we should actually eat less species because we already eat quite a lot. Especially the French, who eat a wide array of beautiful food made from the most disgusting things you can think of.

This reminded me of French zoologist Baron Georges Léopold Chrétien Frédéric Dagobert Cuvier. No it really did.

Baron Cuvier (1769-1832) was part genius part basketcase. He would throw elaborate parties in his mansion that would include parts of his menagerie including his drinking bear (which died of liver poisoning. Cuvier had vast halls filled with fossils and was the world’s greatest anatomist at the time. He discovered the Mammoth and was influential in the discovery of dinosaurs (influential in that he set it back many, many years, ironically by calling the bones those of a bird).

But I recalled the Baron, while eating snails at Francois, because he once declared that he wished to eat his way through the animal kingdom. Guests were occasionally served his gastronomic experiments such as mice on toast, giraffe casserole or shrew dumplings.

I liked the snails (very garlicy), but I don’t think that I’ll make it my regular entrée. The ice cream-filled pastry for dessert, however, that’s another story.

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