It was the sensation of the 21st century. I mean, we’re only halfway through but I feel confident about saying that. All the space exploration, all the satellite technology and advances in medicine, all of that’s very cool, but everyone loves an ancient treasure.
In a tiny, remote part of China, up high in the mountains, they found them living in the caves and surrounding forests. Small, furtive and quick as a waterfall, they were incredibly hard to catch. But man can outwit any creature these days and a crackshot with a tranquillizer gun took it down. The first dragon known to man, beyond myth and legend.
They caught as many as they could, cloned them, started a widespread breeding programme, protected them in the wild and, in no time, numbers were flourishing. Experiments showed they were tremendously adaptable, these once shy creatures, to almost any climate and terrain and soon they were roaming the earth like the dinosaurs they resembled.
It got a bit much. As there were no natural predators, the dragons multiplied and they were everywhere, hoovering up natural resources, from starting bush fires to gobbling up goats and even cattle.
It wasn’t long before they went from mind-blowing fairytale exotics I joined a five mile queue around Hyde Park to see, to the mundane. Farmed dragons, who would have thought it? As a food source for an increasingly starving world they were invaluable, not least in their home country where they were considered a delicacy, their blubber melted to use as an energy source, their iconic looks worshipped.
I eat dragon a lot. It makes good mince, not too fatty but nice and juicy. It has a tang to it though, dragon, needs a lot of spice. It’s good as sushi, a translucent silvery white meat that just begs to be drizzled in chilli and soy. Dragon goes further than chicken and they’re pretty easy to farm, so they quickly took over as the industrial meat of choice. I only go to Smaug’s when I’m drunk, but, damn, they do a good fried dragon kebab – seriously crunchy, greasy, batter and loads of juicy, tangy meat. Add some chilli sauce, a big old dollop of yoghurt and some fries with mayo on the side and you’re sorted.