Sardinia: Sparrows on a spit

The things in the back that look like intestines are actually grilled eels. In the front are sparrows on a spit. Photo by David Lansing.

Several people wrote me after I blogged about the Santa Greca Festival in Sardinia yesterday and said, “You’re such a lier! They don’t eat eel shish kababs and stuffed sheep and horsemeat!”

Well, that’s not exactly what they said, but pretty close. Actually, it was worse. But they do eat that stuff in Sardinia. And probably a lost of other places as well. (In fact, I just read this week that some guy in New Mexico just got approval to open a horse slaughtering house so he can sell horsemeat steaks. Yum, yum!)

But that’s not even the worst of it. I didn’t want to gross people out so I didn’t tell you the worst thing they were selling at the festival: sparrows on a stick. They catch the birds by putting up giant nets near orchards so that the birds (which are migrating—or at least, trying to) fly into them and get trapped (yes, it’s illegal). Then they drop them in boiling water, pluck off the feathers (but leave the heads, tails, and feet on), and then roast them on a spit with apple slices (for flavor).

You eat the whole thing (except the head). And they don’t take the guts out. And guess what? They taste like chicken.

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