Posted by: tylereddy | May 24, 2013

Dinosaur of the Week: Dino Food

While in Buenos Aires we learned about Lago Alumine, a beautiful lake in the Andes. One of the primary features of the area is the Araucaria tree which has survived since the time of the dinosaurs, in fact since some of the earliest dinosaurs during the Jurassic some 250 million years ago. Some believe that the long necks of sauropod dinosaurs may have evolved specifically to browse on the high foliage. We decided to check it out and to eat some dinosaur food ourselves.

Our first glimpse of the Araucaria (also known as the monkey puzzle tree) came as we navigated into the Andes. The scenery was breathtaking. As we rounded another beautiful vista, there perched on a mesa high above the rocky and winding road was a giant sentinel reaching skyward. It was unmistakably the Araucaria silhouetted against the bright blue Andean sky. At first it appeared soft and welcoming, but as we would discover this tree has survived while thousands of species went extinct for a reason.

A single mid-sized  Araucaria dwarfs the car.

A single mid-sized Araucaria dwarfs the car.

The next day we explored a local volcano and were delighted to meet the Araucaria tree up close and personal. No longer single majestic statues but forests of giants old growth. The branches were strong and stiff with needles that make spruce needles feel like cotton. We debated which would hurt more if somebody hit you with a branch. Would it be the blow or cuts? Clearly this tree has survived on brute strength, size and endurance in this harsh Patagonian climate.

Ouch!

Ouch!

Lego Man quietly waiting for a taste!

Lego Man quietly waiting for a taste!

Local knowledge informed us that we could eat the seeds and the foodie in Kelly couldn’t resist. With pockets overflowing we returned to the microwave and placed them in water for a few minutes on high as advised. Hard as steel. A few more minutes, still hard as steel. This continued for several tries until we decided to seek help. Our host informed us that we needed to boil the seeds for at least an hour and a half. With malbec on hand we had time.

Chef Kelly prepares the dinosaur delight.

Chef Kelly prepares the dinosaur delight.

After the prescribed timeframe we  removed the small pods and peeled them to reveal our tiny rewards. The best flavour likeness we could come up with was corn-like, but not sweet corn, just corn. Our first taste of dinosaur food certainly didn’t taste bad boiled, but I can’t imagine the strength of the dinosaur gut that had to digest them uncooked!

Cooked, peeled and ready to eat. (You go first. No you go first. No you.)

Cooked, peeled and ready to eat. (You go first. No you go first. No you.)

 
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Responses

  1. Jaja! Provecho

  2. Keep up the good work. We are visiting Trenna and Alden in Toronto. Went to BlueJays game (they lost again but only by one run). We ate a fruit called, “dragon fruit” which reminds us a bit of your experience. It looked much more exotic than it tasted but it is always interesting to try new things. You are having a great time trying many new things and we love to hear all about it. Thanks for sharing stories and pictures. Love to you all.

  3. My Aunt in Vancouver had an araucaria tree in her front yard that they called a monkey tree or it sure looks like the same thing….the only tree I ever saw like that


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