Large iguana found in freezer of pizza restaurant in Florida

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/24/large-iguana-found-in-freezer.html

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Isn’t this the beginning of a Carl Hiaasen novel?

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If it isn’t already, it should be.

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proper headline: Florida man opens pizza restaurant…

Nevermind the health officials, I’m calling the Department of Bugs Sawing off Florida.

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People do eat them. They call iguanas “Chicken of the Trees” down in the Keys.

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Would there have still been a health department violation if the animal had been properly cleaned, processed, and packaged?

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I like the idea of eating invasive species as a tiny aspect of their management.

Fun anecdote: there’s a restaurant in Cologne, Germany, which is called “Neobiota”. I was very exited when I read about this, and very much disappointed to learn later that their menu wasn’t based on actual neobiota.

We’ve already got the “Pizza Hawaii” discussion. I, for one, would like to propose a “Pizza Florida”.

Also, as far as I remember, Florida is swamped with Achatina. They are quite a delicacy, and I would not be surprised if their caviar would’t be really good. I don’t think they’d do well on pizza, but a peppered stew would be great. (Pity with the nematode, though. We would need to screen for that - same is done for trichines in pork, and also for other parasites so it could be feasible.

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Iguanaroni is the next big pizza topping.

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Tennessee Williams’ Pizza Night of the Iguana

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Well, I guess they basically taste like chicken, so maybe also some Kebabiguana?

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“Tastes like anchovies.”

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https://www.newsweek.com/invasive-menu-eating-termites-and-water-rats-save-new-orleans-269425

(argh, Onebox ain’t up to it)

An Invasive Menu: Eating Termites and Water Rats to Save New Orleans

By Zoë Schlanger On 9/10/14 at 10:17 AM EDT

… Around 30 journalists sat down to a four-course meal designed by Chef Johnny Blancher of the legendary Ye Olde College Inn, a New Orleans landmark since the 1930s. Instead of the farm-to-table dishes that normally emerge from his kitchen, one might call the evening’s menu “ditch-to-table,” in the case of the nutria, or maybe “exterminator-to-table,” in the case of the termites…

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There are some chefs that have been developing recipes for the invasive Asian carp in Ontario waterways.

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Iguana check out that restaurant!

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I’d hate to lizard a guess as to what it might taste like

Sorry, it looked like everyone was having so much fun, and I just wanted to be part of it. I’ll go back to my room now …

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The thing that has amazed me the most about the whole Florida Iguana thing is… between 2000 and 2010, I was in South Florida at least once or twice a year, for at least a week at a go. After 2010, I haven’t been down. (I love the Everglades, Miami, and the Keys.) So there’s been about 10 years that I’ve been away.

Before 2010, I didn’t see any iguanas at all. Like, none.
In 2019, there were iguanas EVERYWHERE. The place was absolutely lousy with them. Everywhere we went, there were iguanas. It was crazy. And not like small iguanas - some of them were four or five foot long.

I just can’t believe how fast that happened; it’s amazing and scary how it happened in under 10 years. And I’m really worried about how the local ecology is going to cope with it; I mean, that is a lot more competition for food sources, and the Keys already have a tight ecosystem as is; and the ecosystem seems to be under attack from salt water intrusion too. (Oy, the key deer reserve looked sad; although the mangroves did seem to be doing better, but… they would be.)

I mean, I know that there are some denizens of the Keys and South Florida on here and they are probably more able to describe it than me, but… it just amazed me. The internet did not prepare me for how many iguanas there are down there now.

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Probably, as it still wasn’t coming from a FDA-approved facility. (Though there are such businesses that trap and process Florida iguana meat for legal sale in the US.)

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“The lizard portal is open, and the sky is on fire.” – Marc Maron, End Times Fun, Netflix.

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