Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Critter cuisine

Yesterday I was reading, in between projects, one of my self-sufficiency mags and was skimming through an article on hunting squirrels, when I was struck by the fact that the recipes in there sounded horribly disgusting. Now, since the author claimed that squirrel tastes just like chicken, couldn't they have come up with something better than Creamed Squirrel served over biscuits or some other bowel-plugging temptation?

Sure, I get that it takes about 3 squirrels to make up one cup of squirrel meat, so can't we simmer that in a white wine, garlic and tarragon cream sauce? Served over tagliatelle with shaved Parmesan and cracked pepper? Or, to get away from that whole creamed thing, what about braising it with a rosemary, plum and port sauce? Why does critter cuisine have to be so nasty?

I'm not averse to eating random critters if prepared well. Not that I do, but it certainly doesn't make my stomach churn like these recipes. Then again, those same recipes would be just as unappealing if they had chicken or beef in them. It's the idea that, if you're going to subsist on these types of foodstuffs, you better prepare them to 1950s standards. Or, maybe the people writing these articles all peaked out in the 50s.

Anyway, that's not entirely the point of my post today. My point is, how willing are you to catch, capture, or kill critters for consumption? (Sorry for the alliteration, I couldn't help myself.) I'm even going to take it easy on you. What would you be willing to eat, even if someone else did the hunting and preparing?

Since I've turned into a poll whore, here's another one for you. I've grouped them by critter type, but don't be too put off if one of the things in the list doesn't appeal to you, it's just to get an idea. And, it's multiple choice, bien sûr!

I'd be willing to eat:



Bon appetit!

34 comments:

Rosa said...

I'd be willing to eat most of those things if their populations weren't declining - unfortunately that puts moose, frogs, and most snakes right out.

In the past I've eaten quite a bit of deer, elk, and quail. I would certainly not mind taking out a nice fat sidewalk-pooping Canada Goose, if it were legal.

But of course there's migratory bird lawsn and then there's the risk of prion disease from anything but a perfectly clean shot on a four-legged critter.

They're using sharpshooters to cull the deer population on the Apostle Islands this fall, to protect other species living there, and I was wondering today if they can even distribute the meat or if nobody will take it because of the risk of prion disease :(

Rosa said...

p.s. you should add "any of these if they were fresh road kill" as an option - do they have a wait list for roadkill venison where you live?

Anne said...

My father once brought home and boiled a road-killed beaver so that he could get the bones for my mom (a teacher). The smell was so horrible that I would never consider eating beaver meat. You could turn me into a starving child in a third world country, and I would still turn down beaver. Just gross.

Kelsie said...

You need to add a category for "all of the above"!

Although...I draw the line at snakes.

My dad's friend used to raise rattlesnakes for their skins/meat, and as a child I could swear the meat LOOKED venomous.

I've had most of the other stuff on your list, though. :)

Anonymous said...

Coming from Canada, Moose and Deer are not that uncommon. If you've ever driven through the east coast then you'd know that the Moose and Deer population are doing just fine here. I suspect Maine is the same.

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

As a native Vermonter, it was not uncommon to have bear, moose, and deer rotate through our dinner menus. I remember not liking them but that was more because I just have a general aversion to meat. I'd be happy to offer up any of the squirrels in our yard to someone with more adventurous taste buds than I. They are nice and plump because of our compost bin.

owlfan said...

I've eaten many of the things on your list (and liked most of them too). I'm willing to *try* most anything - only thing I've turned down was insects. Not much can taste worse than whale blubber - at least not anything else I've ever had.

Deoxy said...

Raccoon chili is very good, but I wasn't much a fan of woodchuck, too gamey. I thought it tasted kind of like rotten fish. Ick.

Jennifer said...

Well, I'm vegetarian. BUT... qualifier coming... if I couldn't be veggie for whatever reason, I'd be up for eating anything. And, I'd do the hunting/preparing.

To me, meat is meat/animals are animals. Might be kind of black and white way to look at it, since I'm veggie... but maybe it comes out of that, as I've already painted ALL meat with a "no" sign in my mind!

Vegan Burnout said...

I'm vegan, so I'm not down with any of the above. :) But if I were stranded and starving, yeah, I'd probably eat anything. Even roadkill.

FernWise said...

I've eaten something in all the categories beaver (no puns intended), bear, and boar already. Rabbit at a Renn Faire. Venison and rattlesnake at high-end restaurants. Duck at my MIL's. Etc.

If someone else does the work, I'll try pretty much anything. I LIKE getting my food on!

Frondly, Fern

Cave-Woman said...

I'm with Rosa on being willing to eat most things as long as their populations weren't declining.

I've eaten venison, squirrel, rabbit, bullfrog and alligator. All are pretty darn delicious. Alligator is a little greasy, but makes a very good gumbo.

Squirrel ( and keep in mind I'm from the south, so it's in my genetic material to do this...) is awesome fried.

Really.
Also makes hella-good gravy for biscuits.

My father-in-law is a squirrel hunter extraordinaire, and the squirrel population here needs serious maintenance, so I'm supportive of his hunting endeavors.

Adrienne said...

I dunno about bear, beaver, or raccoon, other than that I would eat any of those and in fact *have* eaten many.

My uncle has been known to make "Rocky & Bullwinkle stew" using squirrel and moose. He lives in the Ozarks in Missouri (say it Missour-uh) but he did go to college and is generally pretty civilized.

eatclosetohome said...

Herbivores generally taste better than omnivores, so I wouldn't put rabbit and possum in the same category. The older Joy of Cooking actually says to cook possum, you should catch it alive and feed it on bread and milk for a few days to sweeten it up. :)

Anonymous said...

I'd be willing to eat anything as long as it came from my own neck of the woods and had been proven edible. (But then again I can't see wasting any of our last few gallons of oil transporting alligators to my doorstep.)

Segwyne said...

I am willing to eat many things, but I can't bring myself to eat predators or scavengers. Nor am I brave enough to eat insects, and that extends to the more commonly eaten larger oceanic varieties, too.

Thistle said...

Moose and beaver? Never! At least not for this Canadian... although they'd probably be more sustainable meat than farmed chicken...

Erika said...

Considering I've been vegetarian for more than half my life, and I have no plans on going back to eating meat (partly due to the fact that when I have tried to eat animal products - meats - I become quite ill for several days), but if I did, I'd pretty much have to stick to the flying creatures, I'd add that I would also seek out and consume fish and other seafood... IF I ever ate meat again... I don't think I'd seek out a specific animal, perhaps a specific type of animal - a waterfowl, a fish, but not necessarily a XYZ type goose, a MNO type fish, etc. I also would want to make sure that I choose to consume one of the more common animals of the ones that would be available....

Robj98168 said...

I have eaten and enjoyed Alligator,Elk, Deer, bear and of course ducks pheasant even cute little partidges. But draww the line at snakes and frogs. But that was because my dad was a frog leg eater- grosses me out to think about it. Don't know about squirrel though- to much like a rat!

Farmer's Daughter said...

You forgot fish and shellfish! My husband catches them all the time, and there's nothing more gourmet than fresh fish.

We also eat moose, caribou, and deer that he hunts. You need to learn to cook it since it's more lean than beef, but it can be really delicious!

Condo Blues said...

I've eaten something from most of the categories on your list. Most of these meats are leaner and less fatty than pork or beef. Emu was tasty but would be hard to convince an Aussie to eat it - the emu is their national bird!

CitricSugar said...

It's quite the broad palette suggested! I've eaten alligator (quite dry and bit like pork). Ostrich is sweet (which is slightly off-putting) but edible. Rabbit is delicious. And deer, moose, wild boar and most game is also good. I have psychological barriers to insects and amphibians though and I strongly dislike fish and seafood.

As for hunting and killing, I probably couldn't do it myself - I relocate spiders (huge and scary) in summer to outside and squish them as quickly as possible in the winter because I believe it's a less cruel death than freezing. (I apologize and say a prayer after, too) It may sound awful and backwards but I would rely on my other half to kill and gut things. I would have no problem cooking anything he brought me as long as it was sans-face when I got it. I wouldn't make him do the dishes after either just as a thank you for keeping the gory parts away.

Yep, I'm lame.

Anonymous said...

I've been vegetarian on an off for a number of years and am trying to get back to that now. So I'm not overly tempted to try out different meats at this point in my life. That said, I've had several of the foul on the list and don't have aversions to some of the other stuff. I wouldn't be overly comfortable with racoons or bears because they are scavengers and you never know what they ate that you are now eating. Also, I have both rabbits and turtles as pets, so I'm not keen to see them on a dinner plate. Same for squirrels since I enjoy watching them scurry around in my back yard. Interesting to hear people's thoughts on what they will and won't eat...

knutty knitter said...

No aversions here except insects - I'd have to be starving!. Taste is more important really. I have eaten most wild game here and hunted rabbits myself and prepared them. Its a bit messy but thats all.

We had wild pork last Christmas (the boys went hunting) and it was absolutely fabulous.

viv in nz

Spice said...

Crunch:

You should have put up an "I have eaten" choice. I've eaten everything on your list at one point or another.

Plus I took a class entitled "The Anthropology of Food and Eating" let's just say the menu was interesting.

shymom said...

You didn't add lizard to your list. I had that in soup when I lived in Honduras, but, honestly, didn't know what it was until after I had eaten it. Gotta say it tasted like chicken 8-)

LimeSarah said...

I have eaten moose, rabbit, deer, and various waterfowl, all of which were delicious. I have also eaten porcupine, which was not delicious at all. I now have a convenient religious excuse for Never Eating Porcupine Again. Other than the kosher thing, I don't have any objection to eating most of the listed critters. I'd like to try fried crickets at some point; I hear they're tasty.

Anonymous said...

Only in the kind of life-or-death situation where I'd eat human flesh. I hope others will extend compassion to me, so the least I can do is extend compassion to them. There's no reason to eat corpses in te normal course of life.

Kelly said...

esterday i made up some wild boar and venison salami and chorizo! wild meat is great and helps get rid of psty feral animals down under!

Anonymous said...

Maybe its because I've spent my whole life in the southeast, but I'm really not that turned off to creamed stuff. Biscuits and gravy, chipped beef gravy, creamed chicken and biscuits.. . all are still commonplace southern foods, and if done right can actually be made in a healthy way (ex: I've made bicuit gravy with olive oil as my base oil before). Its really not gross, I mean there's like 3-4 main ingredients: oil(pick a healthy one- meat drippings is not a requirement), flour (could go with something organic or local), milk (once again could go with organic or local), and salt and pepper. Put it on a homemade biscuit, and I don't really see the gross factor there, even with the squirrel thrown in. If you wanna add some gross factor just throw ya' in some chitterlings or cook up some hearts and gizzards to go with it. :-)

Wendy said...

I already eat rabbit. We raise them for meat. The best way we've had it is grilled.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Rosa - I don't think there's a wait list for road kill in my area :) Unless you have a serious penchant for possum and cats. And I do think your concern about prion disease is a good one.

Anne - That boiled beaver sounds nasty, but it's road kill and he was boiling it for it's bones, not its culinary delights. I would imagine there are better ways to eat a beaver.

After looking at the poll results so far, I gotta say that y'all are far more adventurous than I thought!

Billie said...

I have had moose, goose and duck.

I thought I heard somewhere that bear meat was absolutely rank so I can't imagine eating bear. I didn't have much of a problem with imagining eating anything except for the rodents/amphibians.

Rosa said...

The roadkill list comment wasn't a joke! I've mostly lived in the Midwest (Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota) and the rule has generally been:

1) you run it over, you can have it
2) if you don't want it they'll call someone from the wait list.

Since there are so many cars, that's a lot of free venison getting distributed, and it helps keep the roadsides cleaner.

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