Blog: A thrill on a plate

Catherine Sleep | 10 October 2005

Thrill-seekers, death-defiers, daredevils… real men seek out danger and meet it head on. Or something like that.

The current Feature of the Week investigates the market for exotic meat. This ranges from fairly pedestrian game meat, such as venison, to the far more unusual kangaroo, ostrich or zebra. The market for such meats is booming, growing 17% between 1999 and 2004 to reach an estimated value of £41m.

But who’s eating this more exotic fare, and why? Consumers who are watching their weight are reputedly drawn to the low-cholesterol and low-fat meats, while others are simply drawn by the thrill factor. Because bungee jumping and roller coasters are just SO last millennium, I suppose.

This puts me in mind of the Japanese speciality fugu – or puffer fish - which, if not prepared absolutely correctly, imparts to the diner a toxin 500 times deadlier than cyanide. Why would anyone risk instant death just to taste a fish? And yet the Japanese get through 20,000 tonnes of the stuff each year. It must taste darned good.

By comparison a zebra ‘n chips supper is tame.

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