ere’s a true story. It must be true… it was told to me by a journo. His mate Barry and two friends are trekking and arrive at the most forsaken hole of human existence where life is cheap, death is common and nothing goes to waste. No, not Chatswood – Chad. They are carrying no food, but surviving on local fare. They arrive at a village one afternoon and find only one roadside vendor to offer them only one dish … a kind of stew. They’re hungry. It’ll do. Halfway through, Barry notices the meat in the stew. It looks like a baby’s arm. He stops. He thinks about his principles and he thinks about the bad press. Then he thinks about his hunger and how it would take another solid day of trekking before they get to the next town and their next meal… So he keeps eating. After all, this is life on the edge and Western niceties just don’t cut it. Besides, in Peru they eat guinea pigs. They’re cute too. Like babies. Everyone keeps eating, silently. And they stay silent long after they finish eating and resume walking. Then, after a couple of hours trekking, one of them finally speaks. “Did anyone notice the meat in that stew?”
They look at each other. “It looked like…” “Monkey,” said the most experienced trekker of the mob. “It was monkey. The locals eat it all the time.” Barry almost bled from the gums, he was so happy. Primate du jour. Stuff to put hair on your chest… just ask Tarzan. Game eating is game eating. You never quite know what you’re going to encounter. Lead shot between the molars if you’re lucky. Intestinal worms if you’re not.* Living in the UK for several years taught me the benefits of very thick-witted creatures such as pheasants. These are most definitely the blondes of the bird world, with the road sense of a brick. You can often collect a few on the way home from work, if you aim the car right. Wait a couple of days, uncork a beefy red and there’s a slap-up dinner. I hung the bird in the boot room and learned to judge its ‘ripeness’ by the shade of green it turned. Remember, I’m talking about England where baths are rare and putrefaction is a national sport. *Anyone with a weak constitution has probably stopped reading by now. Good riddance.
Journalist, novelist and public speaker Sue Webster is part of the third generation of a dairying family and director of a company that specialises in agricultural and financial writing. 71
Don’t stew on it