Nowadays if you want to go on safari in the jungles of Africa or experience the rainforest in the Amazon you have to book a tour months in advance, get all your shots and cough up tens of thousands of dollars for two weeks in a lavish four-star resort on the edge of the jungle under armed guard and tight security. You then can venture out into the natural wonders of flora and fauna in an air-conditioned minibus for the day and return to the resort for a five-star lavish feasts prepared by a celebrity chef like Gordon Ramsay or Wolfgang Puck. And if you’re lucky, you may get to actually see a hippo or a lion far off in the distance.
Gone are the days of hopping on a liner and steaming across the Atlantic to capture the imagery and thrill of close range rhino’s getting slaughtered by poachers, or malaria and diphtheria and the possibility of an armed uprising by jungle natives against relentless Third World dictators. Gone is the color and festival like atmosphere of the true safari.
Back in the day, before the likes of Jack Hanna, Siegfried and Roy or Felix Ho, there was a wild animal trainer that brought the safari experience to you, almost right in your backyard. And you didn’t have to get vaccinated or shell a bunch of dough or worry about hostage situations.
I am of course, speaking of Jungle Larry and his wife Safari Jane, regulars on the Captain Penny show on Channel 5. He took exotic animals to small zoos he ran at the old Puritas Springs amusement park on Cleveland's West Side, Chippewa Lake Park in Medina County, and then Cedar Point, where he opened a baby animal farm in 1964 and where his independently operated African Safari ran from 1965 to 1994. If you really wanted to travel and see big game, in 1969, Jungle Larry and Safari Jane made their winter home in Naples, Fla., and opened an exhibit at the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, then known as Jungle Larry's Zoological Park.
Despite all the danger, old Jungle Larry passed away peacefully in 1984, but his legend lives on so I thought we may put together a jungle feast that is eco-sensitive to honor his legacy.
From the mountain province of the Mondulkiri jungles in Cambodia we begin with free forest chicken with native wild honey.
Mondulkiri Jungle Honey Glazed Chicken
1-2.5 Lb. Forest Free Range Chicken
1 Stalk Lemongrass, Stripped, Finely Minced
1 Knob Galangal, Finely Diced
1 Thai Red Chili, Minced
1 Tbs. Fish Sauce
2 Tbs. Wild Honey
1 Tbs. Wild Rice Wine
Juice and Zest of 1 Orange
1 Tbs. Soy Sauce
4 Tbs, Sesame Oil
1 Handful Thai Basil
Preheat the fire pit to 350 degrees.
Mix all the ingredients in a large coconut bowl and pour marinade over chicken in a cast-iron kettle. Rub into the skin. Place the juiced orange in the chicken cavity and let sit for 4-5 hours.
Place the kettle over fire, put a lid on and roast for 30 minutes. Baste chicken with juices and roast for another 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes before carving.
8 Scarlett Nantes Carrots, Peeled
½ Cup Asparagus Florets
½ Cup Cauliflower Florets
1/2 Cup Broccoli Florets
Japanese Wafu Viniaigrette
Place veggies in a bamboo steamer and bring to a boil over medium heat. Allow to cook 7-10 minutes
Transfer to a bowl and drizzle Wafu over before serving.
½ Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbs. Dark Soy Sauce
1 Tbs. Cane Sugar
1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
2 Tbs. Ground Black Sesame seeds
1 Clove Garlice, Smashed and Finely Chopped
Whisk it all in a coconut shell. Refrigerate unused portions.
Check out the Jungle Larry highlights in the slideshow.