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05.14.2006

Mouton Rothschild and Monkey Brains

This is so barely wine related I can hardly stand to post it. Except that this is such a horrifying, fascinating article that I can't help but share it. Advance warning to vegetarians, PETA members, and the generally squeamish: stop reading now.

You know how when you approach a car accident, you really don't want to look? You want to drive on by and keep traffic moving and not be a rubbernecker, but when the time comes you stare just like everyone else? That's what reading this article is like. It starts off innocently enough, with the food writer attending a private dinner by some chef you've never heard of. Champagne and Voss water are served, and then comes a course of Bichon Frise, paired with a Mouton Rothschild. OK, you think, a little dog. Not a big deal, there are maybe millions of people who eat dogs. But then a few paragraphs later, all sorts of things are tumbling out of the kitchen. Here's a list off the top of my head: penguins, seals, pygmy owls, saguaro cactus, leopard, gorilla, dolphins, monkey brains, giraffe's tongue, hippo, black rhinoceros, and yes, even human flesh (liver and leg meat).

It doesn't matter how rare, how endangered, how illegal, or how hard to get, chef Kazumi Yamamoto cooks it. Half the time, he's killed/harvested/stolen it himself. The other half of the time he's hired contract killers, bribed zookeepers, and paid off morgue workers.

I spent most of this article enthralled and totally disgusted, but at the same time, incredibly intrigued at just what sort of wine pairings are involved. What in the world do you serve with dolphin or rhino testicles? Sadly the author spent much more time talking about the way that penguin brain tasted than what wine might have gone with it. One can hardly blame him. It sounds like a cross between The Freshman and Iron Chef.

You gotta read it to believe it.. Thanks to Jack for the tip-off.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud