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Should Frog's Legs Be Gender Specific?

Are the frogs used for frogs legs all male or all female, and why?

This is one of those questions where we really do not want to know why you're asking.

But after extensive searching in quite a number of reference books and cook books (French and not French), we have not come up with any reference to the importance of the gender of the frog and why in cooking one would or would not care. In any event, when you buy frogs legs, all you get are the legs.

We did turn up some interesting material, though. Escoffier, during his tenure at London's Carlton Hotel, said, "for various reasons, I thought it best in the past to substitute the mythological name 'Nymphs' for the more vulgar term 'Frogs' on menus, and the former has been universally adopted." Frogs are "not generally accepted as an article of first-class food by non-French people; nevertheless "Nymphes l'Aurore," [legs of the dawn nymphs] ... are generally appreciated." (Presumably those nymph's legs would be female.)

We would share with you Escoffier's recipe for Nymphes l'Aurore, but it requires many steps (including drying them in fine linen) and preparations (including a "chaud-froid sauce of fish with paprika, the tint of which should be golden," and a champagne aspic-jelly), none of which anyone on earth is likely to follow or make these days.

Please let us know if you desperately want this recipe.

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