England's Newest, Weirdest Ingredient

By Kate Krader Posted October 16, 2007

I'm not sure I'm going to the UK any time soon. For one thing it sounds like it's so expensive, I couldn't even afford to take the London Underground (when I was spending all my money in Tokyo recently, I kept hearing that it was bargain basement compared to London). For another thing, as anyone who read last Sunday's New York Times magazine knows, it seems like there's some kind of crazy squirrel investation going on. Which leads me to the latest reason I don't want to go to England—they've decided to start eating those gray squirrels that are overrunning the red squirrel population. According to today's Daily Mail, chef Marc Sanders of the Famous Wild Boar Hotel in Crook in England's Lake District is making Peking Duck-style pancakes with gray squirrel trapped on the restaurant's 72-acre grounds; he's even serving them for free. Though I can't fault Sanders for finding a practical use for all the grey squirrels (4,500 plus) that have already been caught and though I want to believe all the people in the article who say it tastes like chicken, I still don't want to try it. But if I change my mind, it seems like there will be ample opportunity to do so in the future. Someone named Lord Inglewood, who is worried that the red squirrels might soon be extinct, wants to create a market for gray squirrel meat and has a unique idea (and brilliant money quote) for doing so: "What about celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver promoting it for school dinners?"

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