SI Vault
Collected by Reginald Wells
December 26, 1955
In holiday spirit SI offers favorite recipes of nine famous sportsmen—but don't look for the ingredients at your corner grocer
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December 26, 1955

A Christmas Choice Of Fair And Fancy Game

In holiday spirit SI offers favorite recipes of nine famous sportsmen—but don't look for the ingredients at your corner grocer

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"There is nothing edible, from fruits and insects to whales, that some humans do not readily use as food," the late anthropologist, C. B. Davenport, once said. The reader, when he has searched these pages, will probably agree; certainly he will find some of these recipes unfamiliar to his palate. They are, however, in the true tradition of gourmandise, which ever since the Gargantuan gastronomical orgies of imperial Rome has been the foundation of the festive spirit—and still remains so. They are not as elaborate, perhaps, as the 600 ostrich brains once served by Heliogabalus at a banquet, nor as exquisite as a favorite dish of Vitellius, flamingo tongue pie; but still pretty fancy nonetheless, and still to be prepared with ritualistic care.

Nowadays it is to the kitchens of sportsmen that the best food comes, game of all kinds and varieties fished for and hunted in sport; and it is in the kitchens of the world's leading sportsmen that the best game recipes can be found. The selection printed here offers an experience as edifying as it is unusual to those who care to try them. And exotic as they may seem, the game for each is obtainable in the U.S.


A first-rate cook, the famous author, big-game hunter proffers this private recipe for preparing lion for the table:

"First obtain your lion. Skin him out and remove the two strips of tenderloin from either side of the backbone. These should hang overnight in a tree out of reach of hyenas and should be wrapped in cheesecloth to prevent them being hit by blowflies.

"The following day, either for breakfast, lunch or dinner, slice the tenderloin as though you were cutting small tenderloin steaks. You may cut them as thin or as thick as you like, and if you should be fortunate enough to have eggs, which will usually be brought in by natives for whom you have killed the lion, if these natives possess chickens, dip the small steaks in beaten and seasoned egg and then in either corn meal or cracker meal or bread crumbs. Then grill the steaks over the coals of an open fire.

"If you have no eggs, simply grill the steaks, basting them preferably with the lard made from eland fat, after having salted and peppered them liberally, but not using too much salt to destroy the delicate flavor.

"If you are fortunate enough to have lemon or sour orange in camp, serve a half of lemon or sour orange with each portion of lion steak.

"My wife and I have often eaten lion and have always found it delicious. However, some people who have never been to Africa nor hunted lion extensively have derided the idea of eating a beast which feeds indiscriminately. These people have never eaten grizzly bear either, but almost all of them have eaten ham or bacon. The hog, who is a more indiscriminate feeder than the lion, will eat almost anything including you, yourself.

"I first decided to eat lion when I saw how clean and white the meat was and smelled its clean odor. Later I found this authorization for the consumption of lion meat by that great hunter and rifleman, Frederick Courtney Selous, who fought in the Matabele War, hunted more extensively perhaps than any other of the great African hunters and was killed in action January 4th, 1917 near Kissaki in Tanganyika while serving as a scout at the age of 65: 'The meat of the lion is very palatable, being white like veal and quite free from any smell or taste. In fact, when cooked, no one who did not know could possibly guess from anything in its appearance or flavor that it was the flesh of a very indiscriminate-feeding carnivorous animal. Jameson, Collison and myself, having one day shot two lions and having no other meat, cooked a large pot of it and ate it with great relish.'

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