Friday, February 27, 2009

Local eats (not for the faint hearted)

I work in an office with people from other states, or folks who were city bred. I was talking to them about the Outdoor show and that they were going to have muskrat on the menu and most of them were disgusted by the thought. Eat a rat? Yecchhh.... OK, so I don't care for them either, but I could tolerate them. Tonight, let me run down the wonderful foods that folks love or hate.

Muskrats. OK, my grandfather trapped them for years. I tried them didn't like them. Didn't get ill, but just didn't care for them. My mother and grandmother ate them til the days they died, but would only buy them with the heads still attached so that they knew they were getting the real thing. Seeing them on a platter stewed with those enormous teeth kind of put me off on them, but hey, they are edible, so why not?

Squirrels. Never saw them cooked, never ate them, have no clue.

Rabbits. Same deal, but think they are probably tastier than squirrels

Raccoons. Tried them once. Meat was tasty but boy were they greasy

Deer. Nothing wrong with their flavor once you get past the "Bambi" factor.

Wildfowl: Ducks and geese, have eaten both, they taste delicious. Pigeons, doves and other small birds, have not tried. I assume they are like chickens.

Fish: Have not eaten blue fish or Drum, but well prepared are supposed to be edible. Have eaten farm raised catfish. Love the creative labeling for shark (steakfish) and ocean perch (blow toads), both of which are delicious, though I found blow toads to be a bit chewy. When I told one city boy that ocean perch was blow toads, he actually turned green. Oh, well....

Shell fish: Love them all, including those little black mussels

Arthropods: Crabs and lobsters are wonderful, including soft crabs, but non-coastal raised folks seem aghast at eating softcrabs. Hey, they cut the eyes off!

Prepared meats.

Scrapple: I grew up eating scrapple and have even eaten raw (but not in 30 years). I still love scrapple and just had some a few days ago. Mid-westerners seem to be disgusted if they are told what its made of first. Oh, well....

Souse loaf and head cheese: Yeah, you know what part of the pig it comes from. Souse is less meat carried in a transparent gel of rendered fat that is delicious on crackers (so I am told). I am not adverse to eating either, just never have done so. Ate plenty of liver loaf and liverwurst, so figure its about the same

Pigs feet. My grandmother loved pig's feet, but seems like a lot of trouble for little meat.

Chitterlings: I can eat pork rinds all day long, but the insides? Man, it smells strong unless its properly rendered. Some ladies got some today and I was OK til I got about three feet from them and then that smell wafted up and my stomach flip flopped. Visually, they looked sort of like creamed chip beef, but the nose knows. I ate them many, many years ago and while it stayed down, it was not an experience I plan on repeating.

I am really looking forward to a big oyster fritter tomorrow at the Outdoor show. Has to be on Sunbeam sandwich loaf with lots of ketchup. Yep, now that's a treat. Well, if I survive the show tomorrow, I'll try to give you a report. I'll get to see who is champion muskrat skinner this year. So, visit Your Humble Scribe and I'll see if I can post something on Sunday.

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