Reacting against the current enthusiasm for all things local and sustainable, a group of Wesleyan enthusiasts have formed a club devoted to obtaining the hardest-to-get foods on the planet. “It’s kind of like an extreme sport,” says Dylan Halls ’13. “But instead of climbing mountains we roast young koalas in their mother’s pouches and smother that in a fine sauce of shark eggs and Arctic-circle lingonberries. It doesn’t even taste that good. We just love the thrill of the chase.”
Halls is a founding member of ‘WesDecadence: Meet Locally, Eat Globally,’ the latest food-interest group on campus. “On the one hand, I understand the impulse to be responsible about our consumption and its consequences,” says sophomore Francine McDonnell. “On the other hand, I want to eat fucked-up shit that’s super rare.” Last Friday McDonnell hosted a WesDecadence feast using only produce from remote Pacific islands. “The endangered fruit bats were sauteed in New Zealand Takehe eggs, a bird thought extinct from 1898 to 1948. I’m proud of that one.”
Funding for the group comes from the SBC, which begrudgingly admits that extreme anti-local eating qualifies as a recreational interest. “Besides, we offer vegan options,” says one member. “I fried chick peas in olive oil recovered from a Byzantine archaeological dig in Galilee. Tasted okay.” The same meal, which was Ancient World-themed, concluded in a pomegranate compote over goat’s milk sorbet. The pomegranate was smuggled out of a remote Iraqi site reputed to be the Garden of Eden. “I feel like possibly eating from the tree of knowledge has really boosted my academic confidence,” said another member, hard at work on a thesis. “Nothing can touch me now.”
Still, the hobby has its drawbacks. “I’ve definitely had trouble getting exotic ingredients shipped to campus,” says Halls. “At first it was hard to get in contact with people who had power and know-how in risky places — you know, like the Iranian highlands, Chechnya, parts of Papua New Guinea that haven’t been exposed to civilization, deep Amazon regions, the Congo, Uighur lands, North Korea. But now I have a really good network. Very grassroots. I’m currently being investigated by the FDA, the USDA, the DEA, and the FBI, because of the packages, but I think that’ll blow over.” He mentioned an instance in which elephant seal blubber began to decompose in the package room, producing an “unbelievably rank, disgusting” odor like “feces and burning plastic,” but dismisses that as a bureaucratic mix-up. “They didn’t specify a WesBox number. I told them, always write the WesBox number.”
Last Saturday WesDecadence hosted their first ever cocktails event. It featured a barrel of rum recovered from the colonial Triangle Trade, Kumis (fermented mare’s milk from Mongolia), and the Cask of Amontillado, which “tastes like Dubra.” The main course, paired with the drinks, was a Van Gogh sketch soaked in maple syrup, but it had to be discarded so the club’s members could make the film series. This coming Friday they plan to spit-roast a mummy.