Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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puma (also known as mountain lion, panther, catamount, cougar), Felis concolor, one of the ‘big cats’ with a remarkable range extending from W. Canada down through Mexico and C. America to Patagonia in S. America. A solitary animal, which is capable of astonishing leaps and preys mainly on deer, it has attracted little attention as food for humans. However, Charles Darwin, eating it in Patagonia and recording his impressions in the journal which he kept during his famous voyage on the Beagle, thought that its meat was good, ‘very white, and remarkably like veal in taste’. (Indeed, misled by some remark which had been made, Darwin actually thought at first that he was eating a kind of veal, namely the flesh of a half-formed calf, long before its proper time of birth—which, he says, was one of the favourite dishes of the country.)