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.
HEMINGWAY'S FILLET OF LION
cook, the famous author, big-game hunter proffers this private recipe for
preparing lion for the table:
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
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.
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.'