Published on Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 5:10pm
"I'll have the beaver eyeballs on the half shell."
"And for you, Sir?"
"The anteater stew, hunter style, with poison ivy salad and dust of golden rod."
Just your average order at the National Zoological Park Restaurant. Think I'm joking? Well -- only kind of. The exotic delicacies above did actually appear on the menu at an Anteaters Association luncheon, though these appetizers were merely a gag satirizing the popular perception of the association, the rest of the menu was still quite unusual.
Take the main course of their opening luncheon as described in The Evening Star on this date in 1963, for example: elephant roast, "bush" style (i.e. stuffed with spring onions, green pepper and leeks, browned in olive oil with red pepper, chili powder, chervil leaves, bay leaves and salt, and then simmered in Burgundy wine until tender, apparently).
The Anteaters Association's more than 5,000 members (as of the early '60s), primarily businessmen and government officials, met at the National Zoo's restaurant for five lunches each year and enjoyed wild game from around the world. The featured meats ranged from elk or pheasant to hippo, whale, iguana or kangaroo.
How might something as incredulous a regular gathering of Washington's elite to eat exotic animals at the National Zoo have come to be? Well, in the early '40s, a whole, slain buffalo was gifted to the Zoo's director, Dr. William M. Mann, who did the only reasonable thing and threw a party at the zoo's restaurant. That party became the birthday of the Anteaters Association, and, as they say, the rest is history.
Intrigued? Check out the full article below. (Click the image for a full view.)
Look for our new weekly posts featuring gems from the Washingtoniana Collection. Every Thursday we will post an article that was published on that date in one of D.C.'s major newspapers. See you next week! #tbt