- What a sad place the little city zoo in Berlin's
district is. Children weep for their missing favourites; Gustav the gander,
his wings drooping in sorrow, pines for his harem. All the other geese
have vanished in recent days, along with four ducks and seven hens. The
staff have eaten them.
- Nothing seems sacred any more as Germans, confronted
by empty shelves at the supermarkets, go foraging for food. With BSE beef
already off the menu, followed by sausages and now pork, filling a German
belly is becoming nearly impossible. As hunger grips, no one, not even
the dedicated Kreuzberg zoo keepers, will object to a bit of free-range
- Other options are fast running out. Even those still
willing to risk steak are finding that restaurants are no longer serving
it, while meat counters have at best only a token display of browning
- After the first scare in November, shoppers switched
to game. Now the consumers are being informed that venison is also dodgy,
because deer in German forests are apparently fed on the same kind of
fodder that has brought BSE to cattle.
- Lamb is to be avoided, scientists warn, because of
Battery chickens come laced with salmonella and occasionally dioxin. Cats
and dogs, in case anyone should fancy them, are out because of the
beef they consume.
- Other pets, such as hamsters and guinea-pigs, are equally
unwholesome because they, too, have been unwittingly munching on the
of animal carcasses for years.
- That, more or less, leaves fish, largely unknown to
cuisine apart from the roll-mop variety. Fresh fish, in any case, is hard
- There was also pork, of course, prepared in hundreds
of ingenious ways from the humble fried chop to Helmut Kohl's beloved
or stuffed pig's stomach. No German would starve while there was pork
- Unfortunately, officials discovered last week that
of Bavarian pigs have for years been fattened up with the help of illegal
drugs, including the sort of anabolic steroids that enabled East German
female athletes to swim as fast as men, at the price of growing hair on
- To someone who does not wish to repeat the feat, pork
is looking rather unappetising.
- It is bad news for most Germans, who would rather die
than become vegetarian. What are they supposed to eat? That is the question
preoccupying much of the nation's media, with television channels
special programmes every day in search of the elusive answer. But so far,
consumers have only learnt from these what they cannot eat, not what they
- That leaves Alfred Biolek, Germany's best-known TV chef,
with the task of educating the masses. Mr Biolek is trying to wean people
off their traditional greasy meat and stodgy veg. Viewers learnt the
of gnocchi with chanterelle mushrooms last week. They got the recipe for
sauerkraut soup a week earlier.
- What people can eat is also a political question in
sensitive areas. For instance, the German parliament's canteen appears
to have banned both beef and pork. Its latest offerings include cabbage
stew, elk ragout, and organic vegetarian cannelloni.
- Beef has also been declared verboten in the armed forces,
presumably on the grounds that you cannot have mad soldiers. But too much
muscle has never done the troops any harm, so pork is still allowed.
- Everyone else must get used to elk, reindeer, ostrich,
crocodile and other exotic meats which have recently turned up at the
or go hunting. In this frenzy, the sheep in Kreuzberg are probably safe
for the moment, but the rabbits had better watch out.
- Old Gustav, by the way, survived the zoo keepers' feast
because he was thought to be too chewy.
Site Served by TheHostPros