Friday, March 7, 2014

Capybara for Lent

Today is the first Friday of Lent this year and around the world, many Catholics will be putting aside a dinner comprised of meat in favor of fish dish. 

It's a minor sacrifice to make, avoiding foods like beef and chicken for salmon, swordfish or halibut...and Capybara. If you haven't seen a capybara, here's a photo of one "swimming".

As strange as it seems, missionaries and local clergy in Columbia and Venezuela during the 18th century petitioned the Vatican to permit capybara meat (called chig├╝ire in Venezuela) to be classified as a fish. 

It might seem like a strange idea think that a four legged rodent that is clearly a mammal could be considered a fish. But at the time in the 18th century, the fact that capybaras live in wet and swampy areas made the association to fish possible. The lack of other food sources also contributed to the petition to the Vatican, as capybara meat was one of the only readily available sources of food in some areas.

So if you're in Venezuela and it's almost Easter, you might just be served capybara for dinner. 

I prefer capybaras as pets, rather than food as I'd like to scratch one of their ill' chins:


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