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Bizarre dish is so gruesome you have to eat it with napkin on your head to ‘hide your sin from God’

Bizarre dish is so gruesome you have to eat it with napkin on your head to ‘hide your sin from God’

Tucking into this dish is apparently delicious - if you can stomach how it ended up on the plate

People have all sorts of pre-dinner rituals - whether it's saying grace, clinking their glasses together or cleansing their palate.

But placing a napkin over their heads to tuck into their grub has got to be one of the most bizarre traditions.

You'll be happy to hear this custom only comes into play when you're chowing down on a certain dish - but the reason behind it will leave you with more questions than answers.

Apparently, when you're eating ortolan bunting - or just ortolan, for short - diners have to cover themselves with napkins to 'hide their sin from God'.

I'm sure you're wondering what the crack is with the French delicacy which makes people want to conceal themselves from the rest of the table and anyone watching from up above.

Well, it's pretty gruesome. So buckle up.

Diners have to place a napkin over their heads when eating ortolan bunting.

As well as supposedly being a delicious yet deplorable dish, ortolan bunting is actually an adorable tiny songbird.

They are caught with nets as they fly off to migrate to Africa in autumn - and it only gets worse from there on out.

The nocturnal creatures are kept in covered cages or boxes for around three weeks, which prompts them to eat excessively by confusing their body clocks.

Ortolan bunting are essentially fattened up to nearly triple their original size thanks to an endless supply of grains and seeds.

After relentlessly binge eating, the songbirds are then thrown into a container which is filled with Armagnac brandy - which chillingly both drowns and marinates them.

They are then plucked and roasted for eight minutes, before being dished out to foodies who can stomach the delicacy.

Each ortolan is supposed to be devoured in one bite - which is apparently extremely savoury, juicy and tender.

But it also comes with a nauseating crunch as diners sink their teeth into the bird's tiny bones - and sometimes its beak.

People then proceed to spit out some of these and any other gnarly bits they just can't swallow.

I can imagine you're starting to get the gist about the napkin thing.

It is supposedly a given that you hide your head in shame while gobbling up the little songbird, which has been caught and killed in such a stomach-churning way.

Ortolan bunting is a French delicacy that is so popular the government had to bring in a hunting ban.
Getty stock image

Others claim that by covering your head, you can truly take in the dish's decadent aromas rather than avoiding showing the rest of the table the bits of bone your spitting out.

However, the practice was reportedly introduced by a priest who was a pal of infamous food lover and French politician Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

The idea behind it is that due to the combination of the preparation process and the cuteness of an ortolan bunting, God should be shield from witnessing you eating it.

Another aspect could be the fact that the songbird supper is so widely popular in France, that the number of them in the country dropped dangerously low.

In 1999, ortolan hunting was banned - but the rules were poorly enforced and the questionable meal continued to get served.

The French government vowed to crackdown on the long-ignored laws in 2007 and brought in a £5,000 fine to deter people.

Killing and cooking ortolans is also banned across the EU.

Featured Image Credit: Reddit/Getty Stock Image

Topics: Food And Drink, Weird, World News, Animals