Helen Skelton has revealed she unwittingly picked out a “cute” guinea pig that was then deep fried for her own lunch.
The Blue Peter and Countryfile star ended up tucking into the furry animal when she went to South America on a charity trip in 2011. Skelton was shown some guinea pigs and commented on the one she thought with the cutest – and had no idea that by doing so she had picked it out as the one she would eat.
The star said the guinea pig she chose was then “spatchcocked and deep fried”, as baked guinea pig is a traditional dish in South America known as Cuy al Horno. She added that it still had its claws when it was served up.
Explaining what happened on the Spooning with Mark Wogan podcast, Shelton said: “So I went to Peru and did a lot of filming with some wonderful charities who were educating children who worked on rubbish dumps, who basically went out every day, scavenging for bits, take them back, clean them, sell them.”
The presenter, who has travelled all over the world thanks to her job, continued: “So we went to this place in the middle of nowhere, it went out and there's a big garden and there was all these hutches and they were showing me around.
“They're showing me all these hutches and I was like, 'Oh that's cute. It's guinea pigs. Oh it’s cute.' Obviously it was a bit of a language and a cultural barrier, but I was enthusiastic because they were proud and I was being respectful.”
“I thought they were just showing me their guinea pigs,” said Skelton. “I didn't realise that I was picking my lunch. So the one that I thought was cute was then spatchcocked and deep fried... It still had claws. With coleslaw.”
"I didn’t know what to say other than thank you," she said. Asked if she ate the dish, Skelton said: “I had to… It was a delicacy, they were really proud and they had gone all out.
"I am an animal lover and it is one of those things that I will take with me to my grave."
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