During the siege of Paris in 1870 a peculiar variety of animals were consumed from among the live specimens kept at the zoo in the city: lions, tigers and even elephants famously went to the abbatoir. What has always seemed extraordinary to British sensibilities, but perfectly normal to French ones, is that in the midst of the most remarkable dearth and rarity of meat the gourmands of the city could expend so much endeavour in describing and appreciating the subtle differences in the flavour of these exotic meats. Henry Labouchere, incarcerated in the city throughout the siege, noted 'Epicures in dog flesh tell me that poodle is by far the best, and recommend me to avoid bull dog, which is coarse and tasteless.' (Labouchere, 1871, p. 84).
|William Hogarth 'The Roast Beef of Old England' (1748)|