Let them eat snake

We’ve heard a lot of buzz about how bugs might be the next big thing in environmentally-friendly protein and now we’re apparently moving up the food chain to snakes. An article in Salon reports that some scientists believe snake could be a good solution for sustainable protein. These researchers claim that commercial snake farming (in particular pythons) could provide a “flexible and efficient” sustainable protein, while having a much smaller environmental footprint than conventionally raised livestock.

Pastry snakes from BBC Good Food Magazine

The key factor that supports this prospect is that cold-blooded animals “are approximately 90% more energy efficient than warm-blooded animals”, meaning it takes a lot less input to get the same amount of protein. Commercial snake farming is well-established in some countries such as Vietnam and Thailand, but eating snake is far less common in Western countries such as the United States. Even here, there are areas where snakes are sometimes eaten, specifically in Southwestern states where rattlesnake pops up on menus.

I was offered rattlesnake once while visiting Texas, but passed on the opportunity to eat it (although I did try the turtle). I have seen snake described as having a flavor that ranges from dark meat chicken to slightly fishy, with a sinewy texture. While snake may be gaining ground with chefs who have an eye on sustainability, it will take an effective campaign to make it become accepted to the point where it’s commercially viable in the US. I found a handful of snake/rattlesnake recipes in the EYB Library (see below), along with several recipes that are shaped like snakes like the one pictured above. If you have tried snake and want to offer your opinion on it, I’d love to hear what you think.

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  • JimCampbell  on  April 11, 2024

    A search on Rattlesnake yields 37 results. A search on Python yields three results. Somebody out there is eating snake.

    • Jane  on  April 11, 2024

      Most of those rattlesnake recipes were for cocktails called Rattlesnake or used the word in the recipe title without having snake meat. Applying the Ingredient filter ‘Other meats’ shows 9 recipes with just the snake as an ingredient.

    • Jenny  on  April 11, 2024

      I was reading Darcie’s post and remembered seeing snake recipes – so I updated the article before I saw your comment. Yes, lots of Rattlesnake cocktails – “hair of the snake that bit you?”.

  • JimCampbell  on  April 11, 2024

    Sorry….two of the Python ones are Monty Python. Hardly qualifies.

  • averythingcooks  on  April 11, 2024

    Yeah….this is a hard NO from me.

  • Fyretigger  on  April 11, 2024

    I’ve had rattlesnake chili. It occasionally shows up at old west themed events. It’s fishy, stringy and full of fine bones.

  • matag  on  April 12, 2024

    No ….thank you….no!

  • FuzzyChef  on  April 14, 2024

    I’ve had farmed python while in China. Not a fan. It combines the worst qualities of fish and chicken. Maybe they could do snake mcnuggets or something.

  • KarenGlad  on  April 14, 2024

    That’s a no for me too. Tried alligator once but couldn’t do the crickets. Maybe encouraging or marketing snakes as a food source would help solve the problem that pythons have become in the Florida Everglades. Maybe they could be hunted out of existence like we’ve done to so many other animals.

  • EliseNMA  on  May 2, 2024

    I haven’t tried Python but I would. The pythons in Florida are a severe threat to the Everglades. On the other hand, rattlesnakes are a threatened species in most states. I’m disappointed that you would encourage their consumption.

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