30 October 2010

Weekend Cooking: Halloween Treats

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


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.


caite 10/30/10, 6:26 AM  

oh my! the thought of eating a bat is very disturbing, I must say. Not field dressed? No...

But the thought of giving it a bath, especially alive, is rather amusing.

Rikki 10/30/10, 6:35 AM  

I didn't know that bats are on the menu anywhere, but then, why not. People eat stranger things than bats.
Shampoo the bat and rinse? Ugh! I hope the bat is dead by then. Not sure I'd want to try bat at all, but God knows, it might be not as bad or strange as we think.

Anonymous,  10/30/10, 6:50 AM  

A bat-bath, hmm, interesting!

I like this post, Beth. It's such a great idea to investigate the eating of bats. I can't imagine I'll be eating it myself soon, but if someone prepared it for me, and it was just some pieces of meat in a sauce (rather than half a bat), I might (might!!!) try it.

I bet it tastes like chicken. Lots of strange meats taste like chicken!

Marg 10/30/10, 7:19 AM  


Gaby G 10/30/10, 8:46 AM  

I don't think I'll ever eat bat. Eww, not on my menu...especially because of the SARS or Ebola...

Anonymous,  10/30/10, 8:47 AM  

YUK! Glad that I don't eat meat -- period ;) I was rather hoping for some other Halloween treats... My post is scheduled for tomorrow morning!

Beth 10/30/10, 8:51 AM  

ewww roast bat. Wonder if it tastes like chicken ;-)

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 10/30/10, 9:09 AM  

I thought that was a photo of a saddle! Then I started reading and nearly choked on coffee with your line about how to clean/prep the bat ... But, what kind of shampoo?

You make a good point, though, about mammals and meat in general - I'll be checking back to see if any of your readers have sampled this delicacy!

Michelle 10/30/10, 9:31 AM  

Ok, ewwwwwww!

This was not at all what I was expecting. I thought cookies, candies, perhaps a cupcake or two. YUCK!!

I think it goes withough saying that I'll be taking a great big pass on both the shampoo job (dead or alive) and the preparation for dinner.


Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews 10/30/10, 9:47 AM  

I was kind of expecting Halloween treats, not nightmares!

But then I guess that perhaps bat is a treat in some parts, so you are just being cosmopolitan in your posts, aren't you?

Reminds me of the time hubbie sent a link to our nieces. They had just lost their guinea-pig and he found a Vietnamese site, where they showed Guinea-pig which had been 'spatchcocked' and made ready for roasting. There it was, spilt, flattened and skewered out, skinned but still with the head intact. Needless to say, they were not impressed.

Apologies to all you vegetarians out there.


Alice 10/30/10, 10:48 AM  

Eat bats? No way. I'm from Southeast Asia but no way in this life I'm going to eat one.

Margot 10/30/10, 11:29 AM  

Consider your Halloween post successful - you not only scared me with this bat recipe but grossed me out as well. (You got a laugh-out-loud-yuck from me.)

Happy Halloween,

Alyce 10/30/10, 12:14 PM  

Ew! I was hoping that the bat was a fake chocolate bat or something. Yuck!

Dorte H 10/30/10, 4:35 PM  

I think I may prefer flying bats in the belfry to having them in my pots and pans, but who knows - they may be absolutely delicious.

Anonymous,  10/30/10, 5:42 PM  

I'm just too afraid to click on the links to the recipes.

Anonymous,  10/30/10, 5:50 PM  

Everything about bats gives me the willies, I know I couldn't eat them. But, as a Halloween post this one is yummy.

Vasilly 10/30/10, 9:08 PM  

Eating bats?! I couldn't do it. The thought of a hairy bat being served in soup . . . Yuck!

Julie P. 10/31/10, 7:37 AM  

Well it is Halloween right? Yuck!

Marie Cloutier 10/31/10, 8:31 AM  

Bat-bathing- LOL
As far as Philly, I don't know. Just wasn't for me. Too crowded or something.

bermudaonion 10/31/10, 9:00 AM  

My uncle actually ate bat one time when he was on a diplomatic trip - there's no way I could ever do that, but he'd eat anything.

Heather 10/31/10, 11:36 AM  

Bat is definitely not on my menu for this evening. Now if I could find a nice candy one that might be different. Great post. Thanks.

Ana S. 10/31/10, 12:42 PM  

Um, I think I'll also pass on the bat :P But this post is fascinating, and it raises all sorts of interesting questions about cultural relativity. As you said, most of us do eat other mammals! And we know that a large percentage of the world's population goes "ewww" at the western habit of eating pig or cow.

Robin M 10/31/10, 3:00 PM  

Ewwww! Just ewwww!

Jenners 10/31/10, 8:24 PM  

Well, I can in full confidence tell you that this is a post that I will NOT be referring to for cooking hints in the future! Perfect for the day though!

Peppermint Ph.D. 10/31/10, 9:57 PM  

I never imagined that people could/would eat bat...I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it. Very interesting info though...learn something new everyday :)

Jane of Australia 10/31/10, 11:39 PM  

mine might make you hungry again...

Heather 11/1/10, 9:32 AM  

oops, I just added my link for the Sweet and Spicy pumpkin seeds but mis-spelled seeds, I think you'll all understand what I meant.

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