Now first let’s do the legal stuff, California’s anti-pet-eating law has a broad reach that may cover eating guinea pigs. The California law protects “any animal traditionally or commonly kept as a pet or companion,” rather than just Fido and Fluffy. The statute is somewhat untested, though, so no one really knows which animals are included. I don’t know about other states, so I suggest you check in your area before you get in trouble.
Now I know that you have all seen the guinea pigs that our kids have kept for pets. But I will bet that most of you don’t know that is some parts of the world they are regularly eaten and are considered delicious.
Now some are starting to show up in South American restaurants in various parts of the US. The demand is created by immigrants from Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, where they are part of the regular menu.
The advantages of raising guinea pigs for food include. Guinea pigs don’t require much space. They can be kept in backyards, or in your home. They’re docile and easy to raise, They breed quickly and can be fed anything you would give a rabbit. A guinea pig farm consisting of two males and twenty females can sustain itself and feed a family of six. Friends of mine who spend part of every year in Peru say that is it common to see guinea pigs being raised and sold in the markets. They are called cuy in South America.
They are served in several different ways. You can make them stuffed and roasted, quartered and covered with a hot spicy sauce, or flattened whole and fried.
Here is a Peruvian recipe for fried guinea pig.
- 1 guinea pig, de-haired, gutted, and cleaned
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/4 – 1/2 t. ground cumin
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. oil
Dry the skin of the guinea pig and rub in the cumin, salt, and pepper. Coat the carcass with the flour and place it on its back in the preheated oil, turning it to cook both sides. Alternately, the guinea pig can be cut and fried in quarters.
Serve with boiled potato, and a salad of cut tomatoes and slivered onions bathed in lime juice and a bit of salt.
If you decide to raise guinea pigs, you will find that there are several different varieties, some of which will weigh up to 7 pounds each. They are high in protein and low in cholesterol. They can be raised in a basement or garage and are not noisy so that you can keep them hidden and preserve your operational secrecy. Just be sure not to let your kids start naming them or you will have problems when it is time to eat them.