A little while ago I was emailed this story, and if it’s real (as best I can see so far, it is), I am resigning as a human being. If it is not real, whoever came up with this idea may want to look into thinking happier thoughts. Behold the Ortolan, a bird that is prepared and consumed in the most disgusting, inhumane manner I have ever heard of:
First, it is caught with a net in the forest. Taken alive, its eyes are poked out and the bird is put in a small cage. It’s then force-fed oats, millet and figs until it has swollen to four times its normal size. Then the bird is drowned alive in fine cognac. Then, it’s roasted whole, in an oven at high heat, for six to eight minutes. Once it reaches the table, a napkin is placed over the eater’s head. The technique of eating the ortolan is to put the whole bird into the mouth, with only the beak protruding. Here sadism mingles with masochism. The first taste as you crunch on the bird is the brandied flesh and fat. Then, the bitterness of the guts follow and finally, as the tiny, delicate bones are being chewed on, they will lacerate the diner’s gums, with the salty taste of the bleeding gums mingling with the richness of the fat and the bitterness of the organs. Chewing the ortolan takes approximately 15 minutes.
Why in the hell was this ever started? Every part of Ortolan eating seems like the type of thing that a totally deranged teenager would think up in between shooting cats and skinning squirrels in his back yard “laboratory” (tool shed). How something so absolutely sick ever reached a level of acceptance that it became a cuisine, then grew so big that selling the bird in France was outlawed, I will never know. It leaves me sad for the entire human race.