Already distraught at the notion of the badgers being culled en masse because of their role in bovine tuberculosis, Britain is now gagging at the suggestion, from chef Clarissa Dickson-Wright, that the animals should be eaten.
Is it really a terrible idea? People who grew up in rural Britain during World War II remember eating badger; and there are recipes for it from across Europe.
Arthur Boyt thinks Dickson Wright is talking good gastronomic sense. He stewed up a piece of badger back meat with the animal’s genitals for supper last Thursday.
“Dog, especially labrador, is my favorite, but badger makes a pretty good meal,” he said.
Boyt, a 73-year-old former civil servant and scientist, does not kill animals. All his free meat comes from the roads around his home on Bodmin Moor, southwest England.
“I’m against the cull, but I’ve eaten badger for 55 years and I certainly haven’t got TB,” he said.
Boyt’s favorite part is the head.
“There’s five tastes and textures in there, including the tongue, the eyeballs, the muscle ... The salivary glands taste quite different. And of course, the brain. You get that by putting a teaspoon in the hole in the back and rooting around,” he said.
European recipes for badger often ask you to lay it in running water for several days to get rid of a rank flavor, but Boyt says that is only necessary for fox. And badger, though it doesn’t need to be hung, can be eaten when it’s “quite green” — that’s assuming the diners aren’t similarly tinged.