Cannibalistic attacks appearing on the news may have a dangerous affect, as it appears that many are beginning to ask a curious question that is perhaps best left unanswered: what does human flesh taste like?
While there may be a long record of sadistic, cannibalistic killers in the history of strange murder cases, such people have not always served as the most sane reference for research. Thus, when the grotesque question of what human flesh might taste like arose, depending on the description of a serial killer seems slightly unreliable. The kind of responses that had been offered suggested "pork" or "beef."
There is however, one other account of what human flesh tastes like and the description sounds nothing short of gourmet. William Buehler Seabrook was an explorer and journalist that travelled West Africa and met paths with a tribe who made a ritual of eating human flesh. Curious himself to know what flesh might taste like, Seabrook asked the chief of the tribe for a description.
When the chief was unable to place a comparison, Seabrook decided to take matters into his own hands and try a piece.
"It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef. It was very definitely like that, and it was not like any other meat I had ever tasted," Seabrook would later write in his book "Jungle Ways," in 1931. "It was so nearly like good, fully developed veal that I think no person with a palate of ordinary, normal sensitiveness could distinguish it from veal."
Seabrook appeared to have enjoyed the taste of the flesh so much, that he continued to taste additional parts of the recently deceased man, although he reported that the man had not been murdered.
"It was mild, good meat with no other sharply defined or highly characteristic taste such as for instance, goat, high game, and pork have. The steak was slightly tougher than prime veal, a little stringy, but not too tough or stringy to be agreeably edible," Seabrook wrote. "The roast, from which I cut and ate a central slice, was tender, and in color, texture, smell as well as taste, strengthened my certainty that of all the meats we habitually know, veal is the one meat to which this meat is accurately comparable."
Cannibalism has been practiced by many other societies in the past, and in some rare cases, may still be practiced today by certain tribes as a cultural ritual.
"Cannibalism was practiced among prehistoric human beings, and it lingered into the 19th century in some isolated South Pacific cultures, notably in Fiji," Paul Raffaele wrote in 2006 for the Smithsonian magazine. "But today the Korowai are among the very few tribes believed to eat human flesh."