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February 12, 2011, is the 202nd anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. Celebrate with a Darwin Day event near you!

Curious what Darwin ate on his adventures? Check out the Recipe Book.

Darwin's Recipe Book

“One of the greatest inconveniences in the manners of these people, is the quantity you are obliged to eat. Time after time they pile heaps of meat on your plate; having eat a great deal too much & having skillfully arranged what is left so as to make as little show as possible, a charming Signorita will perhaps present you with choice piece from her own plate with her own fork; this you must eat, let the consequence be what it may, for it is a high compliment. Oh the difficulty of smiling sweet thanks, with the horrid & vast mouthful in view!”
–Darwin, in his diary, May 1833

Rhea (Darwin’s famous “Ostrich dumplings”)
(Note: For more on this great day in Darwin history, here I am discussing rhea dumplings and Darwin's peculiar recipe with NPR's Robert Krulwich.)
Shoot, trap, or lasso large running land bird. (This may be difficult. Don't get discouraged!) Find someone else to make you dumplings, and offer them small fillets of rhea.* Remember that the rhea is extremely lean, although, as Darwin wrote in his diary, it “would never be recognized as a bird but rather as beef.”

* = Try not to eat a new species, or, if you do, try to gather up the remains and ship them back to England to get it named after you. (i.e. what Darwin did.)

Gather small armadillo(s) from Patagonian shoreline. Roast, without shells, a la gaucho. Darwin: “Cooked without their cases, taste & look like a duck.”

Find herd of guanacos on Patagonian plains. Chase. Shoot. Roast over campfire. In emergency, find already-dead guanacos floating in river. Roast over campfire, as vastly preferable to “salted meat.”

“Salt Meat”
Delicious ship-fare? On second thought, don’t bother. Things preferable to salt meat, at least according to Darwin, include: rhea, armadillo, guanaco (day-old, drowned), beef, and possibly gulls, cormorants, and shags.

Track down free-range cow on Argentine pampas. Lasso. Butcher. Barbecue over open campfire. Goes well with mate tea; nothing but beef and mate for a few weeks make an agreeable diet, Darwin decided, but “felt hard exercise was necessary to make it do so.”
* = Remember to keep your mouth closed.