Nuggets of Food History
The General of the Society of Jesus sent José de Acosta (1540-1600), refined theologian, in Peru to solve problems. Like Mr. Wolf in Pulp Fiction: “I’m José de Acosta. I solve problems”. An example: is it allowed to eat iguana on ecclesiastical fasting days? Does abstinence from the flesh also include the strange animal that lives in both water and land? Is it fish or meat? The answer of those who see iguana advancing in the water is: fish. As soon as it paws on the shore, however, it seems rather a terrestrial creature. It can survive for long outside the sea; it can walk away and go into the woods, climb up the mountains. Its nature is ambiguous. They need a solution. Iguana meat is not bad at all. Perhaps it is for this reason that the answer is: Yes, you can! Probably. Of course, bad news for the iguana.