Some of my favorite bed time stories growing up were the tales of Winnie the Pooh. Sweet little stories about a pudgy bear and his cheeky woodland friends. One of the more responsible members of the forest family was Kanga and her little offspring, obviously named Roo. As a result of these clever tales I grew up believing that kangaroos were cuddly, friendly and terribly cute.
Imagine my horror when I read that China and Australia had signed a protocol for the export of kangaroo meat to China. Now kangaroo meat has been eaten by people in Australia, Russia and Europe for many years. So it does seem logical that China with its long culinary history of cooking and eating just about anything that walks, crawls or swims would be a natural market for kangaroo.
Though the idea of “Kung Pao Kangaroo” ( IHT 4/13)11) gave me pause, it also peaked my curiosity not only about the nutritional value of the meat but the whole industry in Australia. Fortunately I just happen to have an Aussie visitor that was quite close to this business and was happy to fill me in. (Thanks Russell)
Kangaroos in Australia are wild game,much like the white tailed deer that is now seen everywhere in the United States. Kangaroos are not farmed but are truly “free range” animals that are annually culled ( that means hunted) by expert marksman who then sell the carcasses to the meat processor. This process is highly regulated with each of the dead animals tagged and numbered.
From a nutrition standpoint kangaroo meat is a great lean meat , leaner than skinless chicken breasts and super rich in iron, so rich that one serving provides over half the daily adult needs. Surprisingly kangaroo meat is a very good source of omega-3’s, those heart healthy fats generally found in fatty fish.
So why I hate to think of Kanga and Roo ending up on a dinner plate in Shanghai, somehow that is better then imagining Lassie on the sideboard !
Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun !