I’ve never eaten horse, ground hog, or anything else that doesn’t routinely appear in my local gourmet store or supermarket. However, in other cultures it is extremely common to eat guinea pigs, pigeons, and even cats and dogs.
All right, so hopefully I’ll never eat some of the stranger mammals on our planet (although who knows, I have been to my share of dive Chinese buffets), but if it does happen, at least I hope it’s safe, clean, and delicious.
With that said, I ask you— what’s wrong with eating tasty venison, rabbit and duck? Let’s look at the facts, shall we? Deer populations in the U.S. have been increasing since the early 1900’s. In suburban and urban areas, deer densities have reached 60 to 100 per square mile; in fact Pennsylvania’s population of whitetails has grown by 20 percent in the last five years, from 1.2 million to 1.6 million. A rabbit’s litter size usually ranges from 4 to 12 kits per litter, and some rabbits in the wild will breed approximately eight times per year. Horny bastards! Ducks aren’t much better; communities throughout America participate in open forums to voice their growing frustration regarding the over population of ducks. Some advocates have even written advice columns on how to avoid the continuation of waterfowl overpopulation problems within urban and suburban parks.
With America’s growing aggravation, Bryn Mawr restaurant Verdad is offering Main Line diners a chance to get even. Chef Nick Farina created a new menu item Salchicha de mi Patio (Sausages from my Backyard) because, “rabbits destroy the vegetable gardens, ducks feast on flowerbeds, and deer destroy millions of dollars in landscaping each year.” Farina continues, “diners can make sandwiches or tacos out of the furry creatures that trash their yards and flower beds. What a delicious way to flip the paradigm and take something from a few species that takes so much from us.”
This isn’t something new to most of us. The Germans are proud of their traditional “hassenfeffer”, a sour rabbit stew, and the Chinese and Italians breed large numbers of rabbits for domestic consumption. Rabbits are herbivores, so their meat is clean and tasty, so why not try something a little different?
Pompous, self-important, fake journalist Len Lear of the Chestnut Hill Local caught wind of Verdad’s mouthwatering sausage selection and reacted by angrily notifying animal protest groups throughout the area of this “outrage”. I chuckled at Farina’s juicy payback plan, and wrote what I felt was a clever press release, but soon learned that PETA enthusiasts were not quite as tickled as I was.
Shortly after Lear forwarded the press release dozens of furious emails filled my inbox. I passed them along to Victor Fiorillo at Philadelphia magazine, who decided this was now becoming a story worth reporting about, and all of a sudden Verdad’s Salchicha de mi Patio was making waves.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the animal rights acitvists:
You’ve got to be kidding. Do you think that taking pleasure in animal cruelty is a way to promote a restaurant???? I doubt that your sick sense of publicity will attract diners to the restaurant — most people are not as sadistic as you obviously are.
My first reaction was to be sickened, and my second was to say, “WHAAAAAAT? Takes so much from us? Humans destroy habitat for endless unnecessary shopping areas and expensive homes, mutilate and kill all forms of wildlife for recreation, and injure them with our cars when we are speeding, talking on cell phones, and driving drunk and distracted. They try to survive by living on the tiny but of land which we have left to them. This is MUCH MUCH MUCH less destructive than anything we do. This is no justification for killing even more of them…
My response to those hostile emails was simple: Revenge never tasted so good. Thanks fake journalist Len Lear, for blowing up our story. Thanks on behalf of every chef, restaurateur and publicist in the Philadelphia region for coming to all those complimentary dinners wearing your bad, greasy toupee, and for giving us something really funny to laugh at. And thanks on behalf of all those delicious bunnies, ducks and deer for caring about keeping their populations swelling. For if those species were wiped out we would all have to make painful decisions about eating our adorable dogs, cats and horses.
To read about some actually disturbing entrees, click here:
For some facts about the budding wildlife on the mainline, click here:
To read more about Verdad’s Salchicha de mi Patio, click here: