Tate Williams

Penguin Stew

Tate Williams February 3, 2012

Turn-of-the-century Antarctic explorers had a cute, disgusting secret for fending off scurvy in a wasteland lacking fruits and vegetables. They ate wild, vitamin C-rich penguins. They ate penguin steak, they ate penguin stew, they ate penguin eggs, they fed them to dogs, they burned their fat for fuel. Sometimes the poor, unsuspecting creatures would waddle right into camp, unaware of this strange new animal wandering toward the South Pole for the first time. Other times, the men would lure their happy feet in with a song.

Discoblog has a gross little history of penguin cuisine among late 19th century explorers, referencing a recent paper in Endeavor, and the journals of Frederick Cook.

Unfortunately for turn-of-the-century Antarctic explorers, most expedition leaders were not as enlightened as Cook and many a man succumbed to scurvy. Unfortunately for Antarctica’s penguins, they were also easy prey for the men who did eat them. “Long lines of curious penguins marched across the ice and right into camp, which almost always meant death as dog food, human food, or fuel for the boiler. A stew of penguin heart and liver became a crew favorite”…

photo by Flickr user Vassil Tzvetanov via Creative Commons

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