Dining on Happy Exotic Animals

They ran and they played…and then I ate them.

Since I only eat free-range meat or none at all and think hunting is not a real sport but rather some kind of bizarre male bonding ritual leftover from the ‘hunter-gatherer’ era and since I believe in conservation of natural wild things…tonight’s dinner was solely done to prove to my San Diego son that I’m not an exotic-food wimp. I did not break all of my rules; I am quite sure the springbok, kudu and impala I ate for dinner were wild and happy until slaughtered by some great white hunter type who took the heads home to White Bear Lake or Syracuse, and they’re not very endangered…are they? And ostriches are living everywhere. This one probably got loose from the local ostrich farm and was hit by an out-of-control truck between here and Stellenbosch.

Here’s how it all happened. I was wandering around my lovely Green Market Square neighborhood after a site-based performance work that started oddly but ended normally with Jesus (I think) dragging a big broken metal table over the cobblestones and out of sight, his feet all bloody and robe torn and a haunting African melody to cheer him on his way. There’s a sweet restaurant called Da Capo next to my hotel so I decided a meal would be a good thing since I’ve only eaten exotic pancakes since I’ve been here. Through a long and convoluted discussion with my waiter I wound up ordering the following plate under their tapas menu:

  • Ostrich filled with fresh spinach and secret sauce;
  • Springbok filled with artichoke, tuna and tapanada;
  • Kudu filled with exotic wild mushrooms and
  • Impala filled with creamy chili and tuna puree.

I copied that directly from the menu as I said a silent forgiveness prayer to the pagan Norwegian god of turnips and rutabagas.


And here’s the critique. Kudu is REALLY good. It’s very light somehow. Like the best steak imaginable—the melting in your mouth kind. Absolutely elegant. And I never have to eat it again. Like going to Luxembourg; it’s done and you don’t have to go back even if it was a pleasant experience. Springbok tastes like a nice light pork with a slightly liver-like texture and Impala tastes like a wild animal. I know I must have eaten venison growing up in Minnesota, and once I tasted bear meat. Impala tasted like I imagine that tasted. About ostrich. I could not do that. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because the Swiss Family Robinson kids rode around on them so I associate them with horses. Or because they are so truly ugly. Or because they are being farmed, penned up, not wild and free like I like to imagine my meat having been just prior to my chewing it up.

Now I am having instant cappuccino and dried out ginger cookies for dessert as I write this. Already too much adventure for one day.

2 Comments on “Dining on Happy Exotic Animals

  1. Marj- These blogs are wonderful. Laugh out loud fun and so so interesting.
    Is that site-based piece you’re describing Brett Baileys’ work? Sounds like it.

    Wish I was with you!

    Love from snowy NYC.

  2. Reblogged this on Today X 365 and commented:

    Reblogging this so we can make our reservations for dinner at Da Capo’s in Cape Town in September. Scott, are you paying attention? New travel posts here soon.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: