Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stloppus crapula

Certain German-speaking areas of Hungary esteemed the consumption of one unsafe but reportedly luscious dish for centuries (until the tradition was phased out after the Second World War): Following a bath in buttery paprika sauce, an ockerfreundliche Kröte or brown Hungarian toad (Stloppus crapula) was steamed alive, pinioned, and slit down the belly, but not gutted. The diner wore a steel tiara with twin prongs (perpendicular to the forehead), from which hung the toad, lashed by the ankles. The waiter would use a special fork to nestle the amphibian’s kidneys securely in the diner’s nostrils so that he could savor the aroma while consuming its intestine—the only part of the animal that was not deadly poisonous. An enthusiast generally shunned regular utensils in favor of a pair of silver picks, or Zücholsstangen (from tűzőszigonypár), to navigate the tasty innards onto his tongue. Several field recordings exist of drinking songs (all intoned in basso-profundo) that celebrate this hazardous delicacy and the joys of attendant tippling.

From: Phalprin W. Bosnett, “An Ödenburgish Cellar-Book,” Horizon, vol. VI, no. 4 (Autumn 1965): pp. 35-57.