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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.

Comments (13)

Ryan Opaz wrote:
05.15.06 at 8:49 AM

Not sure I can believe it! Seems like if this is for real, this guy might be in a heap of trouble now that it's posted. Not to mention some of the celebrities mentioned...hmmmmm

temy wrote:
05.15.06 at 1:06 PM

I can't believe it either. This article is an ingenious hack and extremely amusing.

Josh wrote:
05.15.06 at 2:34 PM

If it is a fake, then they made a huge mistake directly quoting Alice Cooper. Either that or Cooper is in on the joke.

The name dropping and fantastic nature of the article give pause, but I'm leaning toward believing it.

Alder wrote:
05.15.06 at 2:54 PM

Yeah. Quoting famous people is usually pretty bad form unless it's true, and presumably this journalist wants to keep his job.

cd wrote:
05.15.06 at 11:33 PM

wow. could it be the freshman? you 'think' you're eating something exotic, but you're not? I have no idea. but I don't doubt that such a menu exists. I just wouldn't have expected it in the US. like he says, we're generally not that adventurous when it comes to a menu. look at chicago and their foi gras ban. sheesh.

with that fella from the NYTimes 'faking' it, and Oprah's book fiasco, it very well could be a fantastic hoax. but then again, it's so good, how you could you make it up? c'mon, penguin omelette?!

Breadman wrote:
05.16.06 at 7:19 AM

Just looking at the pictures closely, and wishing I could enlarge them with good resolution, leads me to believe the pictures are too stages. The penguin shooting picture looks like a computer game. The picture of the cactus is too well lit, and his manner of holding the chainsaw indicates a lack of experience with it. Plus, who would want to be eating "in a private Scottsdale home" with the chef and a woman practically stading over you while you eat? I'm not convinced.

Alder wrote:
05.16.06 at 8:28 AM


I too wish the pictures were better, but they don't necessarily look staged to me (not that you can really tell at this size). The only thing that struck me when looking at them was how that dining room in the "private scottsdale home" is one of the smaller dining rooms I've seen in Arizona, and certainly a little small and spare for some presumably rich Scottsdale resident. But who knows. I mean, we all know that's what Angelina Jolie's handwriting looks like, right?

cd wrote:
05.16.06 at 10:25 AM

I agree with Breadman, as I originally thought so myself: most of the photos are styled. you can't get the lighting and coloring just so with your average pocket digital camera. but, the guy is so arrogant, who's to say the writer didn't go back with a staff photographer to shoot those portraits? I'd bet he happily 'posed' for each of these shots. And Alder, you're right, that dining room is pretty weak...

Jack wrote:
05.16.06 at 11:28 AM

I think this is such a funny, entertaining story. I repeat, story. It's too complete; too many photos, celebrities, email address, etc. But where are the photos of these exotic dishes? What about the part about eating human? Yeah, right.

If this was for real, wouldn't this guy already be known on the Food Forums? Wouldn't a couple of food bloggers have written him up, with photos?

Maybe it was all a dream of a secret double-life by the President of Pioneer!?

Brett wrote:
05.17.06 at 8:12 AM

It seems fake and a pretty elaborate one at that. Guy stayed up all night writing that piece. If you only had one wine to serve with that "feast", what would it be? Hmmmm.

Michelle wrote:
05.17.06 at 8:40 AM

I'm almost positive this is a hoax for two reasons. 1 - It states in the article that they contacted PETA and received no comment. When has PETA ever remained silent on anything?
2 - A blogger emailed the Arizona Attn'y General's office and received this response, which makes me believe it is all an elaborate hoax.
Personally, I think it takes satire a bit too far.

Alder wrote:
05.17.06 at 8:53 AM

Good sluething work Michelle!

Kelly wrote:
05.18.06 at 8:10 PM

Yes, this is a hoax. Please see my comment at the end of this blog: http://kellysearsmith.livejournal.com/28207.html.

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