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It's Halloween here at Beth Fish Reads and everywhere, especially at Jenn's of Jenn's Bookshelves, who has been hosting a month-long Halloween Fright Fest. I wanted to participate, but I don't really read horror. Instead I am going to frighten at least most of you with food.
What you see to the left is a photo of the world's largest bat species, often called a flying fox or a fruit bat. (Photo Credit: From Ellenm1 at Flickr; click to enlarge). These flying mammals are fairly large: They weigh three to five pounds and have a wing span of about five and a half feet.
Apparently all over the South Pacific and parts of Southeast Asia, flying fox bats are part of the traditional cuisine. For the rest of world, bats pretty much never appear on the menu.
I bet you're wondering just how you go about cooking one of these guys. Well, I was curious. I discovered several recipes, and I'll share a couple of ideas with you. As a first step, though, I wanted to know how to prepare a bat. I found these instructions on St. Sam's & St. Bede's Recipe Pages: "Shampoo the bat and rinse thoroughly." Ooooookaaaaay. Note that they don't tell you whether the animal should be alive or dead at this point.
Once you've given the bat a beauty treatment, you can start to cook it. Most of the recipes imply or state that you cook the bat whole--no skinning, field dressing (gutting), or butchering--by roasting or boiling. Afterward, I guess you are supposed to cut off the meat.
Here are some popular ways to serve bat: (1) with prunes and cream, (2) with coconut milk, (3) as porridge, and (4) in soup. If you are planning to cook bat anytime soon, just click the links to find the recipes.
If you are from the South Pacific or Southeast Asia, please tell me if you've eaten bat and whether you cook it at home. A bat is, after all, a mammal, and most people eat some kind of mammal. I should point out that at least two sites I checked warned that bat meat may carry SARS or Ebola virus, so I'll likely pass on the opportunity to sample.
Here's a fun video from the Cincinnati Zoo about the flying fox bat:
Be sure to check out Jenn's blog for more Halloween Fright Fest posts.