If you go down to the woods today…

Brown Bear - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

We’re going to see wild Brown Bears in Slovenia. That means taking a first-class train from Rome to Venice, picking up a hire car, driving to Slovenia and staying three days and two nights. There are four of us, and Gabriele, who has arranged the trip for us, is driving. We stop off at a restaurant and there’s Bear on the menu.

Slovenia Bear Menu - The Hall of Einar

They kill something like 100 bears a year here as part of an organised cull, and then they make use of the corpses. The waiter explains that the Bear steak is fantastic value at €25, as it would be €80 elsewhere.

What else is on the menu? Thymus glands are often referred to as sweetbreads in England, although they are neither sweet, nor bread. What do you expect from a nation which serves mincemeat pies which have no meat in them and which are very, very sweet? As for bull’s testicles, they’re known as Rocky Mountain oysters in the US, which is also an ingenious euphemism. It’s a sweeter name than swinging beef, anyway.

I decide I’m just going to have beer. What would you order?

I’m in favour of reintroducing Brown Bears to Britain so it’ll be fascinating to see them in the wild. Wish me luck!

Lilliput Magazine - Brown Bear

Speaking of euphemisms:

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