Yesterday, I wrote about how we may have eaten the Woolly Mammoth to extinction. Today, I want to write about eating extinct animals today.
Last year, I took care of my nephews in Cincinnati for a week while my sister and brother-in-law were on a trip. I decided to make it a point to work my way through their packed freezer, which had some truly ancient and scary looking items, including some cod that was older than my then nine-year old nephew and that had survived a move several years earlier.
Around the same time, I was reading Steven Rinella’s, American Buffalo, an excellent book about this iconic animal’s role throughout human history. At one point, Rinella mentions a mummified, 36,000 year old Steppe Bison in Alaska, and writes off-handedly:
Dale Guthrie, a professor emeritus at the University of Alaska, cooked and ate part of the animal’s neck. He reported it to be “well aged but still a little tough.”
I did a double-take when I read this line. It seemed wrong in more ways than one. I was also intrigued, so I did a little research, and I feel good about the overall ethics and wisdom of the move. It turns out that eating ancient animals is a thing, although Woolly Mammoth apparently does not keep well.
It made me feel a whole lot better about cooking that decade-old cod for my nephews. I ended up turning it into a tasty fishcake, which forever boosted their respect for my cooking abilities.