Lang’s prognostication proved right; our animals displayed all the symptoms of appalled horror that you would expect from a missionary to whom you had offered human flesh en casserole. We wondered, in the face of such stubbornness, whether perhaps our dough-like substance tasted different from Lang’s; since some of the ingredients were not the same, was the first result perhaps unpalatable? Like a board meeting of Peek Frean, we stuffed our mouths full of the substance and compared notes. We found the cake to be pleasant-tasting with a nice nutty, biscuity flavour. It was, we agreed, very acceptable. However, our liking it was not much help. The animals did not find it palatable and that was that. There was only one thing we could do and that was to add something to the taste, to make it more attractive.
Most of the things we at first thought of would have been burnt out during the baking process. It was when we reached what appeared to be a dead end that I thought of aniseed, a time-honoured substance for baiting traps and for stealing dogs. We tried it and, to our delight, the aniseed flavour came through loud and clear. We decided, wiping the crumbs off our mouths, that the product was now delicious. To our great relief, the animals felt the same. Now it is a pleasure to watch one of the gorillas, on being handed a dish laden with delicacies ranging from grapes to raw eggs, sift through the food with a thick black forefinger and carefully extract the biscuits, in order to eat them first with the rumbling, growling, avalanche-like noises that gorillas make as a sign of extreme pleasure.
I want to try this…