Pigeon, parakeet and pony: Amsterdam food truck serves maligned meat

I don’t care what various cultures use as their source of protein: I care that it is microbiologically safe.

cackling-geese1According to NPR, in Amsterdam, two artists are trying to widen their city’s list of local tasty creatures — and expand minds, too — with dishes like the My Little Pony Burger, Peace Pigeon and Bambi Ball.

Their project, The Kitchen Of The Unwanted Animal is a food truck and specialty food provider featuring animals that are, generally, considered pests and almost always considered inedible.

“I think there is a kind of block in your head because it’s a pet or [an animal that’s not typically eaten],” says Rob Hagenouw, 55, one of the founders of the Kitchen. “Here we have pet, pest and eating animals — and we don’t mix them.” But he and his partner, Nicolle Schatborn, 51, are trying to show their neighbors that these animals can be delicious, and shouldn’t be wasted.

wholetruck-3aaab70a52e0d7f294c62882b25772c5fd90da71-s1600-c85It all started five years ago with a wild goose stew Schatborn and Hagenouw made for an art fair as part of a larger installation. The stew got them wondering about what happened to geese and other animals that were considered “unwanted” in Holland.

I know a lot of North Americans, especially on golf courses, that would want to get rid of the geese.

Feeding birds on Thanksgiving

I enjoyed a nice thanksgiving with my family in Wichita this year. After an enjoyable Thanksgiving lunch, complete with turkey, potatoes, green been casserole, and all the holiday staples, we decided to walk off our turkey coma by visiting the park. My parents live close to Sedgwick County Park in Wichita, KS; we use the park a lot mainly to walk the dog, but they have great running trails and nice playgrounds for when my two younger cousins come over. 

I got a free bag of cat food from school and had planned on feeding the ducks and geese that live on the ponds located within the park. We loaded my two cousins up in the car and headed to the park for some bird-feeding on turkey day. The birds at the park are quite tame and will get very close if you offer them food. Naturally, they enjoyed the cat food thoroughly. I wasn’t content to just feed them; that became boring after awhile. I decided a fun challenge would be to try to pick up one of the birds. (I’ll admit I’ve done this before at parks). I’ve worked with poultry in undergrad, so I felt that if I could pick up a turkey and carry it, surely I could pick up a goose or duck. First I coaxed the birds to eat out of my hand, and then after slowly sneaking closer to them just grabbed them up like little footballs. 

The kids thought it was hilarious, but I don’t think my parents/uncle and aunt were all that excited. Mom looked at me and said, “Those birds are filthy, I thought you knew better not to touch them!” Yes, indeed the birds are probably very dirty. They could’ve been (and probably were) infected with all sorts of bacteria and protozoa. Doug probably wouldn’t like that.  The smartest thing to do would to keep the birds’ feet out of your mouth; luckily this was not a hard task. I was also very careful not to put my hands near my mouth or on my face to contaminate myself. Ideally I would’ve used hand sanitizer after holding the birds, but unfortunately I was not thinking far enough ahead. My idea of vacation is having a good time, and most of the time that takes place in a germ-free environment. But if animals are involved (except in the case of reptiles), I tend to be a little more lax in my “germaphobe-ness.”

Just because animals carry germs doesn’t mean that we need to completely steer clear of them. However, the age of the person handling the animal must be taken into consideration. Kids under the age of 7 (or maybe even12) don’t seem to get the idea to keep your hands out of your mouth around the dogs. The bottom line (for all your petting zoo-lovers) is to be smart and wash your hands before and after handling animals.