Anyone who has been to France is probably familiar with the idea of eating frogs legs. I have, they’re pretty tasty in fact. But frog juice? Not so common!
In Peru, frogs are considered to be full of nutrients and goodness to improve strength, memory, illnesses and you guessed it, impotence. Magical little sweeties. Forget licking the back of a psychadelic-colored creature, in order to receive these benefits the entire frog must be consumed. This can be done in a number of ways, from frying them to eating them in a soup, to juicing them. In a Lima market, you can find the juiced variety. So let’s do it!
There was a tank of the little hoppers sat on the bar next to the other ingredients to prepare the fortalising brew. I’m told that these frogs come all the way from Lake Titicaca where the water is fresh and cold, compared to Lima where the hot climate produced less nutritious frogs. There is such a demand for frogs in Lima that special frog catchers work in Puno to collect them and send them all the way here.
My barman told me that growing up in Huancayo, frog consumption was the norm. Everyday before school his grandma would give him a frog and quinoa cocktail to prepare his mind for the day ahead. Frogs were also fried and put in soups, sometimes enormous ones as big as your hand, he said! He is trying to promote frog consumption in Lima, as they are full of nutrients that the Limeños really need but do not get. Everyone here eats a lot of fast food and so a bit of frog in the diet might do them some good!
Then to the tasting. My frog was plucked from the tank all wriggling and slippery. As I’m a lover of all animals no matter how ugly, this did kind of break my heart. I had to look away as he was decapitated and thrown into the pan to boil. Once the frogs are nice and melted (gross!) they are liquidated along with oats, quinoa, quail eggs and cane alcohol to form the final cocktail. Half expecting it to be green, the drink was actually took the more pleasant colours of the cereals added (although I’ve shown this photo around, and everyone disagrees, so I think I might have cognitive dissonance). And, I must say, it was delicious, even if I did feel huge pangs of guilt as the tank of critters watched me drink down their brother.
The nutritious properties that frogs boast are not to be ignored. In a city like Lima where there is a lot of overpopulation and people are not educated about nutrition, simple additions to their diets such as this might help with overall health, and frogs are fairly accessible. Even for those who consume a varied diet, the supposed aphrodisiac ´Viagra´ properties of frogs might inspire those travelling in couples to have a sneaky taste of this cocktail.
Beckie is a volunteer with the Karikuy Volunteer Program in Lima, Peru.