Darwin's Recipe Book
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.”
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.