TV chef dropped in the stew for cat casserole dish
A TOP Italian food presenter has been suspended indefinitely from the country's version of 'Ready Steady Cook' for recommending stewed cat to viewers as a "succulent dish".
RAI, the public broadcasting network, said that it had dropped Beppe Bigazzi (77), for offering the recipe on 'La Prova del Cuoco' ('The Proof of the Cook'), which is broadcast at midday on the main channel.
Its switchboard was inundated with complaints from viewers and animal rights groups. Mr Bigazzi said that 'casserole of cat' was a famous dish in his home region of Valdarno, in Tuscany.
"I've eaten it myself and it's a lot better than many other animals," he told viewers. "Better than chicken, rabbit or pigeon."
He said that for optimum flavour the meat should be "soaked in spring water for three days" before being stewed.
Elisa Isoardi, the programme's presenter -- tried to steer Mr Bigazzi off the subject. During the commercial break she and the show's producers tried to persuade him to apologise to viewers, but he refused.
Carla Rocchi, the head of the Italian society for the protection of animals, complained that killing cats was illegal. Mr Bigazzi said yesterday that he had only been joking about the recipe.
But he added: "Mind you, I wasn't joking all that much. In the 1930s and 1940s, when I was a boy, people certainly did eat cat." (© The Times, London)