"Not for the weak of stomach"
May 11, 2013 1:06 PM   Subscribe

The Siege of Paris, during the Franco-Prussian War, lasted from September 1870 to January 1871. As the Prussian army blockaded the city, Parisians turned to ever more desperate food sources. Like the zoo animals. And other animals not normally eaten.
posted by the man of twists and turns (18 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Inspiration for Delicatessen?
posted by 2N2222 at 1:42 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just mis-read the URL on that last link as "The Sniffington Post," which is now the name of my next newsfilter blog.
posted by etc. at 1:55 PM on May 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

Great post. Thanks, Odysseus.
posted by clockzero at 2:02 PM on May 11, 2013

Google Translation of the menu in the "zoo animals" link below. I don't know why HORS D'ŒUVRE translates as OUT OF WORK.

Butter - Radish - Head-ass stuffed sardines

Mashed red beans with croutons
Consumed Elephant

studs fried
Roast camel to English
The kangaroo stew
Coast of roasted pepper sauce bear

Haunch of wolf, deer sauce
The flanked cat rats
Watercress salad
The antelope terrine with truffles
Porcini bordelaise
Peas with butter

Rice pudding with jam

Gruyere cheese

posted by twoleftfeet at 2:14 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ugh. Gross. That just sounds vile and disgusting. Peas with butter? No thank you.
posted by ColdChef at 3:19 PM on May 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

posted by elizardbits at 3:32 PM on May 11, 2013

We have an album with 111 photographs from the siege online:

posted by adamsc at 3:48 PM on May 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't know why HORS D'ŒUVRE translates as OUT OF WORK.

Technically, it's correct, but idiomatically spurious. Hors is indeed "outside" (e.g. hors de combat), and oeuvre is indeed "work" or "body of work"; idiomatically the phrase is only used for appetizers, which are outside of the main course, in this case the "oeuvre" of the chef. (Before the 18th century, there was apparently some usage of the term to mean "outbuilding".)

In French, "unemployed" is au chômage.
posted by dhartung at 4:03 PM on May 11, 2013 [6 favorites]

The Franco-Prussian war was not one of France's finest hours. A major fiasco from start to finish, and ample proof that Napoleon III shouldn't have been the Emperor.

And after the war ended, he wasn't any longer.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:15 PM on May 11, 2013

It caused deep nationalistic resentment over the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine which provided fuel for both belligerents to prepare for a future rematch. There were a number of false starts before WWI, by which time they were both chomping at the bit and well armed. Well, not everyone in France but certainly the right.
posted by stbalbach at 5:16 PM on May 11, 2013

There's a persistent belief amongst tourists in Cambodia that the eating of spiders, insects, water beetles, ant eggs, and a heap of (often slightly poisonous) vegetables, herbs and tree leaves is a legacy of the Khmer Rouge sieges of Cambodian cities and towns during the seventies, and famines during and immediately after the DK period.

But when you ask just about any Cambodian where the taste for this stuff came from, and they'll say "The Thais."

Who also did a lot of besieging back in the 16th/17th centuries or so, but they do tend to eat the same things..
posted by Ahab at 6:54 PM on May 11, 2013

Head-ass stuffed sardines

Look, it's bad enough that they're going to be eaten, you don't have to insult their intelligence too.
posted by dr. boludo at 7:50 PM on May 11, 2013

Here is the menu, for those who think Google translate is some weak-ass bullshit

Butter — radish — stuffed donkey head — sardines
Red bean purée with croûtons
Elephant consommé
Fried gudgeon
Roast camel, English style
Kangaroo civet
Roast bear rib, pepper sauce
Wolf haunch, chervil sauce
Cat, accompanied by rats
Cress salad
Antelope terrine with truffles
Mushrooms Bordeaux style
Peas with butter
Rice cake with jam
Gruyère cheese

Feeling hungrier now?
posted by Wolof at 9:01 PM on May 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mousse de la boue dans une Panier de la Pate de Chaussures
Brodequin roti Facon Ombres
Coulis de Terre en l'Eau

"It's not our fault if even the Quirmians can't understand restaurant Quirmian."
Terry Prattchett, Hogfather
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:20 PM on May 11, 2013

Hannibal Lecter, anyone?

IMHO, these menus,ake it look as though the French tried to make the best of a bad situation.

And remember that there was cannibalism at Stalingrad. At least it's Chameau á la mode Anglais, rather than Bébé á la mode Aztec.
posted by vhsiv at 12:31 AM on May 12, 2013

It's posts like this, tmotat, that turn a gloomy Sunday into a glorious afternoon. Thanks so much.
posted by ouke at 4:34 AM on May 12, 2013

Ok, this story is actually WWII related, but I had to tell it anyway. You'll see why. A family friend was in Paris, and her hosts were showing her all the neat stuff they had stashed in their attic. They opened a trunk to reveal a beautiful fur quilt in all different colors. "Rabbit skins?" she asked. No, they said. Alley cats. Their family owned a fur tannery in the 30s and 40s, during the Nazi occupation, and decided to solve their problems of being hungry, bored, and cold, all at the same time.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 6:33 AM on May 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

The first real use of the hot air balloon, this conflict!
posted by kbanas at 9:02 AM on May 12, 2013

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