In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, Paris was entirely surrounded by enemy forces. Their goal: to starve the French into submission. Parisians eventually resorted to eating cats, dogs, rodents, and, before the war was over, about 70,000 horses.
In desperation, a zoo in northern Paris called the Jardin d’Acclimatation came to a disconcerting decision—its animals were sold to the kitchen of Chef Alexandre Etienne Choron’s restaurant, Voisin. Choron, the celebrity chef of his time, then treated his patrons to a wild six-course Christmas dinner!
December 25, 1870
99th Day of the Siege
Butter, Radishes, Stuffed Donkey Head, Sardines
Puréed Red Beans with Croutons
Fried Gudgeon—Roasted Camel, English Style
Bear Chops Roasted with Pepper Sauce
Haunch of Wolf, Venison Sauce
Cat Flanked with Rats
Antelope Terrine with Truffles
Porcini Mushrooms Bordeaux Style
Buttered Green Peas
Rice Pudding with Preserves
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