A Morbid Local Food Tradition

13 Oct 2006

Traditional Fijian food products like sugarcane are too tame to attract much tourism, at least in the estimation of one Fijian scientist. He thinks that the solution is “to single out products which are specific to the region and trade in those.”

The scientist, Richard Beyer, claims to have discovered an original Fijian recipe for the chutney at one time used to accompany human entrees. Cannibal Chutney is in fact poised to be marketed as a novelty gift by Beyer and a collaborator. While no longer exactly a local food tradition, cannibalism was common on the island at one time, until the practice was discontinued about a century ago.

Some Fijians contend that the novelty product will discourage tourism and possibly frighten people. Extracting kitsch from a cannibalistic past is considered to be in rather poor taste and could associate the Islands with an image they are reluctant to cultivate.

Beyer ripostes that tourists in Fiji can already buy the little forks modeled after the ones used to scrape out little pieces of brain from the skull.

The BBC points out that only one white missionary was ever eaten in Fiji, and his shoes are now in the Fiji museum. Historian Paul Geraghty notes that “the distribution of cuts would be similar to pork.”

Beyer would not reveal his recipe, which he insists will make Fiji rich.

Source:BBC News

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