"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
The world's largest rodent, as cognoscenti know, is Vatican-approved Lenten fare:
When Venezuelans' appetite for capybara clashed with the church's ban on eating meat during Lent, a local priest asked the Vatican to give the world's biggest rodent the status of fish.
People rejoiced when the Vatican agreed, declaring that capybara isn't meat. More than two centuries later, they still consider the 130-pound capybara a delicacy and pay big bucks to put it on their dinner tables.
"It's the most scrumptious dish that exists," says Freddy Colina, 17, who lives on the southern Great Plains of Venezuela, where a Lent without capybara is like Thanksgiving without turkey in the United States.
As it happens, the capybara is related to the nutria, or coypu, among the Hystricomorpha, or porcupine-like rodents.
Would it therefore be possible to substitute capybara in a nutria recipe?
3 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 pounds capybara ground meat 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon red pepper 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 cup diced onion 1 cup diced green bell pepper 1 cup diced red bell pepper 1 cup tomato paste 4 cups beef stock (or water) 1 can red kidney beans (opt.)
In a heavy 5-quart pot on high heat, add oil and heat until very hot. Add capybara meat, and cook and stir 10 minutes. Add salt, red pepper, chili powder, onion and both bell peppers. Cook and stir 15 minutes. Add tomato paste and 4 cups stock. Cook 30 minutes; reduce heat to medium. Add red kidney beans; cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot!