Zut! Frogs' legs aren't French, they're a British delicacy
The dish synonymous with Gallic cuisine turns out to be not so French after all, scientists say
SACRE bleu! Frog legs, the delicacy synonymous with sophisticated French cuisine, is not French at all, scientists say. Archaeologists have found that the "stringy amphibians" were first cooked in Britain eight millennia ago, The Times reports.
The, er, Gaulling revelation was made by a team of archaeologists from the University of Buckingham. During an excavation of a Mesolithic site about a mile from Stonehenge they discovered that the small patch of Salisbury Plain was an area of "extravagant feasting" from 7,500 BC to 4,500BC.
One of the delicacies consumed by our Mesolithic forbears was frogs' legs - or rather entire frogs. In April, the team discovered charred bones of a small animal. An assessment by the Natural History Museum has confirmed that they belonged to a frog or toad that had been cooked and eaten.
"They would have definitely eaten the leg because it would have been quite big and juicy," David Jacques, a research fellow at the university told The Guardian.
Plump amphibians weren't the only thing on the menu. Evidence from the site suggests a "Heston Blumenthal-style menu" featuring hazelnuts, juniper berries, wild boar, red deer and huge aurochs - a cattle three times the size of a cow.
"It was a really rich diet," said Dr Jacques.
The earliest record of a Frenchman sitting down to a plate of grenouille "came several thousand years later," the Times says. About 8,000 years to be precise. Which raises the question: Why did Britons – early adopters on the frog and toad front – abandon such an abundant source of protein?
Dr Jacques has a theory, the Times says. "Back then Britain was still joined to the mainland." Only as the temperature warmed did sea levels rise enough to cut off Europe. "Then," he suggests, separated from continentals at last, "we moved to good British stodge". ·