Will you eat reindeer?

Somewhere, can’t remember where, I read about a Scandinavian chef’s experiences of cooking for a London audience, where he opined that non-Scandinavians generally like reindeer as long as they don’t know what they eat and you sell it to them as venison. I’ve no idea why that would be the case – I’ve been served excellent reindeer in Canada, for example. Would people get sentimental or squeamish (Santa’s animals!), or doubtful about the health of imported meat, or is it just the quirky way that animals change names between the farmyard and the kitchen?

So I thought I’d put it to the test on the Straight Dope, having nothing better to do than to stay at home and nurse a fever at the moment. Reindeer, yes or no? If not, why?

It was the first thing I ate after arriving in Stockholm. It was good.

I don’t like venison at all, but I think he’s on the money as far as branding goes. I’m sure putting out two versions of a restaurant menu with that single word changed would prove his point. Even if it said reindeer and you explained that it was just like other kinds of venison, there would be logical, rational, hungry people who wouldn’t be able to shake their first reaction, especially around the holidays.

Not exactly the same thing, but Chilean sea bass is a great example of menu marketing and the power of language. It’s real name? The Patagonia Toothfish. Ew.

Sure, why not? Would calling it “caribou” improve the public perception of it? Or is it not an accurate name?

I have had reindeer (sausage) and I would do it again given the chance. It was quite tasty.

I *tried *to find reindeer to eat on my only trip to Stockholm. Alas, it was summer, and while sunshine was plentiful round the clock, apparently reindeer was out of season.

I have done. When I was visiting a friend in Sweden his mom made reindeer sausages for dinner. As Swords to Plouwshares said, ‘I would do it again given the chance. It was quite tasty.’

I’d try it if it were served to me but I wouldn’t seek it out. I’ve only sampled venison once and hated the taste.

I’ve had reindeer sausage in Alaska - it was great.

No problem with trying it whatever. Or elk, moose, boar, etc. I’d actually be curious as to what they tasted like.

If reindeer tasted like the venison I’ve had, I probably would not care for the dry, gamey taste and wouldn’t order it again, but I would have no qualms about it being one of Santa’s little darlings I was eating.

I love venison. I would eat any relatives of the white tail.

Caribou is, in my opinion, what beef will taste like in heaven.

I eat reindeer whenever I get the chance. Would consume it weekly, at least, if not for the hefty price tag.

I’d eat it. Heck, I don’t think there’s a mammal I wouldn’t eat, if my host ate it first to demonstrate its wholesomeness. Except maybe human meat.

Sure, why not? All deer are kosher. If I could get some that was prepared kosherly, I’d see what it was like. Meat pretty much tastes the same to me, anyway.

I’d be happy to eat reindeer… and moose, elk, blacktail deer, mule deer, bison, and any other cervid that you can put on a plate.

Though it does need some marketing work.

If you had venison that was dry & gamey, I would fault the preparation before I’d blame the venison itself.

I’ll eat any legal animal that is safe to eat, so yes. I think I might have had reindeer once, along time ago. I have no memory of it.

Does reindeer have a particularly unique taste?

Sure. I would even eat human meat if: a) it came from an already dead person, and, b) it was either that or starving to death.

Me, too, at least once. I’ve had venison but never reindeer.