The phrase that has circumnavigated the globe. Once I was in a market in Bangkok looking at a dead snake. It was a big snake: maybe four feet long and as thick as my wrist in the middle, or so it seems in my memory. The vendor selling it caught my eye. “It very good. Taste like chicken.”
Recently, on the dock in northern Peru where I was swimming with the torgugas, a fisherman had caught a fairly large manta ray. Its pristine white wings were sort of floating in a metal tub, its head gouged out and in a bucket below. While I was looking at it Sebastian said, “It tastes like chicken.” I eyed him skeptically. “Yes, Ruby, I’m serious. It’s not like fish at all.” D
On the tour boat en route to theUros Floating Island a few days ago, the guide was talking about the sea
birds. One species in particular, I don’t remember which, he said was trapped and eaten by th
e tribe. “It is gordo (plump), and tastes very good. LIke chicken.”
Yesterday, here in Cusco, I was in San Pedro Mercado, one of the most fascinating markets I’ve been to. Sitting outside was a woman with a basket on her lap. Sticking out of it were several skinned guinea pigs orCuy, totally intact except for their fur. “Oh,cuy,”
I exclaimed. “Si, cuy.” she said. A couple of English speaking women were standing there. “Have you eaten them?” they asked me. “Yes. The one I had was missing its head and feet and presented on the plate layed out flat. It was kind of dry and grisley.” The woman who held the basket, looked as us while we talked and seemed to be listening, but I don’t think she understood the conversation. I caught her eye. “Do they taste like chicken?” I asked. She laughed. “Maybe English chicken.” We all laughed. There is nothing more precious than a successful joke across cultures.
So, why do we need to kill snakes, and fish, and sea birds and other species that taste like chicken? Why not just eat chicken?