why do you ask so many questions, Grasshopper?


when it comes to strange and exotic foods I’m usually game to try something new, especially when travelling. Pigeon soup, fertilised duck eggs, jellied eel, black pudding, dried squid sandwiches, crocodile… they’ve all passed my lips and made it into my stomach at some time or another.


William Buckland (1784-1856) went a lot further. 

“He boasted that he had eaten his way through the whole animal creation, from mouse to bison. No sentimentality held him back as he devoured slices of crocodile, hedgehogs, puppies and snails.

His laboratory was his own stomach. Buckland could state quite categorically that mole was the nastiest meat of all (although he later changed his mind to blue bottle). Hapless friends were also guinea pigs.


John Ruskin, more sympathetic than some to Buckland’s eccentricity, wrote: “I have always regretted a day of unlucky engagement on which I missed a delicate toast of mice.” 

His son, Frank Buckland, followed in William’s footsteps, both as a popular scientist and as an omnivore, serving up elephant and rhino, kangaroo and Chinese sea slugs to bemused dinner parties.


(“Tortellini” by Sergei Voichenko, Vladimir Zessler)

Once, when the Bucklands were visiting an Italian cathedral together, they came upon a stain on the flagstones, supposed to be martyr’s blood. Buckland senior dropped to his knees and licked the spot. “I can tell you what it is: it’s bat’s urine,” he announced.

For my adventurous readers I have sourced this delicious recipe for Parcht Locusts enjoyed in 1687 by William Dampier

“The Natives would go out with small Nets, and take a Quart at one sweep. When they had enough, they would carry them home, and parch them over the Fire in an earthen Pan; and then their Wings and Legs would fall off, and their Heads and Backs would turn red like boil’d Shrimps, being before brownish. Their Bodies being full, would eat very moist, their Heads would crackle in one’s Teeth. I did once eat of this Dish, and liked it well enough….”


Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 12:24 pm  Comments (26)  

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26 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Rocky Mountain Oysters???

  2. Sheeps eyes are the only items that have stuck in my craw. In hindsight (pardon the pun) I guess it would have been more humane to kill the sheep first.

  3. My vegetarianism prevents me from weighing in on this one. Although it appears that everyone claims practically all forms of meat taste like chicken. Not sure this would be the case with a snail.

  4. it’s odd, but i seem to have a threshold at avoiding eating anything that looks the way it did when it was alive. lobster, shrimp (loved my pet Sea Monkeys), even chicken/turkey/duck on the bone… it’s completely hypocritical.

    bottom line: i have to have my meat processed beyond recognition.

  5. I think the most exotic thing I’ve eaten is “turkey fries”, which is like Rocky Mountain oysters, only from turkeys. I have eaten nettle soup and dandelion greens, however. And nasturtiums, which are quite tasty.

    I’ve got nasturtiums growing on my balcony. Even the Rosella picks them out of his salad and throws them away

  6. During my stint as Renfield in ‘Dracula’, I ate meal worms and crickets every night. The meal worms were better. Cricket wings get caught in your throat like pop corn husks.

  7. I’m with you on this Nursey – I’ve had sardines on toast with and without vinegar – my curiosity knows no bounds …..

    but doesn’t vinegar make the toast soggy?

  8. I’m not culinary adventurous … so … yuk! Lol!

  9. I’ll stick with Mac and cheese. I don’t have the nerve to eat any of this.

  10. I ate prairie oysters, but I was really young. I don’t think I could do it now.

  11. Oh for goodness’ sake. When I was at school we were given food. Nobody knew what it was, not even the cooks (who hated us). Surprisingly few of us died.

    Ha! that sounds like the boarding school I went to

  12. I’ll try pretty much anything but insects. Bison is quite nice. I tried camel once in a restaurant in Queens, New York. It was yucky.

  13. Where I am in the US we have scrapple. It’s not exotic but it sure is mysterious.

  14. Hey renalfailure – did you enlarge the image of the tortellini roses? Can’t believe no one’s commented on them…..

  15. I’m sure I saw the William Buckland Cookbook on my ex mother in-law’s kitchen shelf.

  16. Hapless friends were also guinea pigs.

    Does that mean that he was a cannibal?

  17. All you have to do is go to a McDonald’s. They have the McPenis filet and Chicken McTesticals.

    Or so I’ve heard.

    Thomas 🙂

  18. Buckland knew what Bat Pee tasted like?
    You know, I’m going to wonder for a very long time how he came to know that taste.
    A very long time.

  19. Maybe he got forced into it by a gang of drunken bikers outside a strip joint–just a guess.

  20. Please tell me that yeti crab isn’t real…

  21. Roses remind me of that old joke.

    Fanny Craddock was visiting…(Fill in blank with backward rural town) Showing the ladies of the W.I how to bake Doughnuts.After the evening dragged on Mrs Craddock had to go and left the ladies still baking. “Well Ladies thanks to you all for coming along this evening” said the MC for the evening.” It’s been a wonderful night and I hope all your doughnuts turn out like Fannys.”

    Boom! Boom!

    Well, I never said it was funny.

  22. While visiting the Philippines, I tried a bulute, which is a partially developed duck egg. And honestly, it tasted like chicken soup.

  23. Tom Laird: Jokes like that could get you banned for bad behaviour

    fundamentaljelly: I nibbled on one in Vietnam but it made me feel quite squeamish

  24. Was It the gag itself? Or the idea women should be baking doughnuts?

    Banned Nursie? Surely Discharged

  25. I like your comeback Tom Laird 🙂

  26. Aaayy Thenk yo!!

    PS. Talkin of Fannies….

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