"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

June 21, 2010

June 21 - Amoebotaenia lumbrici

The parasite for today plays a central role in a gourmet dish, and that culinary parasite is a tapeworm from the genus Amoebotaenia. Amoebotaenia lumbrici, along with a number of other species from its genus, happens to play a starring role in one of the most prized of French dishes. Host of Amoebotaenia are woodcocks (Scolopax rusticola) and swarms of these tiny tapeworms live inside the bird's intestine. Woodcocks (also known as Bécasse) are popular game birds and gastronomically valued for its strong and unique flavour and taste. The woodcock is usually oven roasted whole with its innards intact. After it has been roasted, the intestine is removed to be chopped up and made into a pâté. The unique flavour of the pâté has apparently been attributed to all those little tapeworms which are packed into the woodcock's gut.

So if you ever find yourself in a fancy French restaurant, check if Bécasse pâté is on the menu!

Contributed by Tommy Leung.


  1. Another delicious way to cook the becasse is to hang it by a string in front of a fire and place slices of toast underneath. When the bird slowly roasts, the tapeworms drop on the toasts. A bit of salt and pepper, mmm!

  2. I don't think this is accurate. I hunt woodcock and I have never heard of such a thing. While yes, the innards have historically been eaten they were, however, spread on toast after having been roasted first. And while woodcock pâté is delicious, hunters only use the breasts, heart, and liver for the pâté. Never have I come across any recipe calling for the 'trail' to be included in the pâté. I think the above comments were written by someone who has never eaten or, more so, seen a wild woodcock before. Cheers.