This Food Truck Serves Pigeon, Parakeet, and Horse

In Depth

And the whole reason they’re doing it is to combat food waste.

Via NPR’s Meghan Collins Sullivan, Rob Hagenouw and Nicolle Schatborn of Amsterdam founded a food truck called The Kitchen of the Unwanted Animal thanks to the problem of geese. Anyone who has ever dealt with geese knows they’re total assholes, particularly Canada Geese.* Hunting laws in the 1970’s only emboldened them and sent the population to new heights, causing particular airline safety problems for airports in the Netherlands to which the geese are attracted (because in addition to being total assholes, geese are the morons of the avian kingdom). NPR estimates that roughly 40,000 geese are now shot as part of efforts to curtail this problem.

Hagenouw and Schatborn saw this, and saw an opportunity. Food waste is a huge problem, particularly in the first world: the US alone wastes 141 trillion calories per year, a figure that does not include animals not traditionally considered food. Their answer, then, was simple: why not make something out of these dead geese instead of just letting them get thrown away? With that, The Kitchen of the Unwanted Animal was born, with its first dish being geese croquettes. It has since expanded to serving things like parakeet (which is apparently an invasive species in Holland), pigeon, horse, muskrat, crawfish,** and (coming soon) fallow deer and black crow. Their objective is not only to combat food waste, but to ultimately to start a conversation about which foods we eat and why and change attitudes about which animals are “acceptable” to consume.

Worth noting also: eating pigeon isn’t as weird as it’s going to sound for a lot of readers. People have been eating squab (pictured above) all over the world for at least 2000 years, including in North America. Likewise for deer; venison’s not super uncommon, at least in North America (where deer are freaking everywhere), and there are small parts of America, at least, where muskrat shows up on restaurant menus. Parakeet is a hell of a lot weirder; I’m not aware of any culture that regularly consumes parakeets for food. Still, if they’re an invasive species in Holland (which really does conjure up bizarre images of a tidal wave of hamsters to North American readers), it definitely fits with The Kitchen of the Unwanted Animal’s MO.

Horse is, unsurprisingly, more controversial, especially because Hagenouw and Schatborn have a delightfully warped enough sense of humor to call their equine dish the “My Little Pony Burger.”*** As with everything else they serve, the menu changes depending on what’s available; it would defeat the whole purpose if horses were being killed specifically to provide food for the truck, rather than the truck making use of what’s available so that it doesn’t go to waste. Interestingly, the negative reaction they get to this seems to come from parents rather than kids:

“It’s nice meat,” Hagenouw says. “‘Ah, they have My Little Pony burgers,’ little girls will say. Most of the time the girls eat the burgers; it’s the mothers who don’t like it.”

It’s hard not to see this entire concept as a good thing, both for Holland and for every other first-world country. We already waste so much food as it is that I can see no reason not to expand what we do eat to include things that are already being killed and just thrown away.

* Which really begs the question of why they’re not called America Geese.

** This probably seems like a “which one of these things is not like the others” moment, but bear in mind that a lot of other countries think it’s really weird that America is so keen on eating what amounts to giant aquatic insects. To anyone about to leave some variant of “SEE BECAUSE THAT IS WEIRD HOW CAN YOU EAT SEA BUGS BLARGLBARGLARGL” in the comments section: you are neither original nor interesting.

*** There’s literally no upper limit to the amount of money I’d pay to see a satellite Kitchen of the Unwanted Animal truck at Bronycon.

Image via Fanfo/Shutterstock.

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