That great pillar of British broadcasting, Terry Wogan, used to have a running joke on his radio show in which his producer, the late Paul Walters, claimed to have eaten all manner of exotic animals, and that they all “tasted like chicken”.
I’m sure that the origins of this phrase lie, not on Wogan’s show, but somewhere in the mists of time; but so persistent is the saying that it’s almost become ‘fact’ that an implausibly large number of animals are indeed poultry-flavoured.
Well, I think someone has missed a trick here.
I don’t know if you’ve recently scrutinised the ingredients of a packet of crisps, but it seems that rarely, if ever, do they actually contain any constituent parts which originated from the item after which they are allegedly flavoured. You must have heard stories of beef crisps which are suitable for vegetarians for example, no actual beef having passed within sniffing distance.
So it occurred to me: Why don’t we have giraffe flavour crisps? If crisps don’t have to contain any ingredients from the food they supposedly taste like, and it’s widely believed that many exotic creatures taste like chicken, then why don’t Walkers and Smiths et al, just rebrand their chicken flavour crisps as giraffe flavour? Or panda flavour? Or puffin flavour?
Of course, It’s entirely possible that crisp manufacturers do in fact have a conscience, and wouldn’t want to brazenly lie to their consumers – I mean, giraffe might not actually taste anything like chicken – but even this wouldn’t have to be a problem.
Animals in the zoo don’t live forever. There will come a time when a giraffe will die of natural causes, at which point Brannigan’s, say, could take the dead animal, in exchange for a generous donation to the zoo. They could then cook it and serve it to a panel of expert taste engineers, who would then strive to duplicate the taste using their vast array of chemicals and synthetic compounds. And so the crisps would actually taste like the animal.
Surely it would be a very dull person indeed who wasn’t at least intrigued by the gastronomic possibilities of leopard crisps, or salamander crisps, or great-crested-grebe crisps?