Admiral Collingwood’s Table

Collingwood was one of the most unfortunate of Britain’s naval heroes, but perhaps it links with his diet. How many of his men would want to dine with him and discuss tactics? This is from Cecil Storr’s Small Talk at Wreyland:

‘Collingwood ate rats. He said ships’ rats were very clean eaters, and he always had a dish of them at dinner when he was at sea; and I have heard that many officers fought shy of invitations to the Admiral’s table. No doubt his dish of rats was properly cooked; but rat may be as dangerous as pig, considered as diet, since rats are also liable to trichinosis. Amongst human beings the disease is very rare in England as compared with Germany: they eat a great deal of smoked ham there, and mere smoking does not kill trichene.

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