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Lean Cuisine Named Its Nutrition Program After the Gulf’s Least-Favorite Rodent

It’s called ‘Nutria’

UIG via Getty Images

Lean Cuisine’s latest collaboration is a “personalized nutrition coach powered by DNA” and named “Nutria,” which anyone in Louisiana or the entire Gulf Coast knows better as the rat-like pest with repugnant curved, orange teeth that ravages the wetlands. It’s the Gulf’s least-appetizing rodent.

Twenty years ago, state officials hoped that nutria could become in the 90s what redfish was in the 80s, when the fish was “nearly wiped out in Louisiana when the New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme started preparing it with a dense pepper char.”

A campaign was born that put nutria on the menus at restaurants. Sometimes chefs tucked it into gumbo without any indication it was in there, and sometimes it was was clearly presented on the menu. State officials’ dreams never came true: It never caught on with New Orleans diners.

On the other hand, the river rat emerged as Russia’s big food trend in 2016, with Moscow falling hard for the rodent burger.

Texas politics reporter, Lauren McGaughy, tweeted, “I’m guessing no southerners were involved in the development of this nutrition service.”

Eater New Orleans has reached out to Nutria, but no one was immediately available to comment for this story.

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