OK, peoples. It’s been yet another sleepless night here in Oregon. Lots of worrywarting on my part. Although I know it isn’t sensible to worry about what you have no control over, I still can’t seem to quit fretting. So, as it has become my habit of late, I went and net surfed until I was so sleepy that I finely drifted off.
Before I fell asleep, I came upon something that was so disgustingly unbelievable to me that I had to investigate further to determine if what I was reading about was actually true. It appears it was quite true, and I need to share my new knowledge with you all or I will burst into flames. I believe that everyone of us should know a thing or two more than we presently do about ………..
Here’s how it works. Sometimes, Mother Nature’s little and not so little beasties attempt to cross a road or highway and end up being victims of a motor vehicle versus beastie encounter. The term for the animal victims of such an encounter is better known to us humans as “roadkill.”
Now, here is where the cuisine part comes in. There are folks present on this planet who search out these beastie victims, take ’em home, skin ’em, gut ’em, cook ’em, and serve them up for supper.
OK, I can understand doing this if you hit a deer or a buffalo, moose, elk, bear, or something huge and, well, meaty. But we are talking about smaller beasties like squirrels, chipmunks, birds, foxes, hedgehogs, and probably even armadillos. I kid you not; if it’s edible and struck dead by a vehicle, there is someone on this planet who will scrape it up, take it home, and make a meal out of it….
Not only are there folks on the planet who troll the highways and byways for the star of their next meat course, but cookbooks have been written, festivals are held, and YouTube videos are available to share how to properly dress and eat roadkill. I did not know this. Perhaps, you did not know this, as well.
So, there I was reading about the subject of roadkill, and I soon realized that I held a stereotypical idea that roadkill eaters were mostly redneck guys with names like Billybob, Bubba, or Elgin who roam around the hill country of the southernmost states and who weren’t much inclined to be friendly towards strangers. You know, like those hillbilly guys in the movie Deliverance. I learned that my stereotypical view was wrong, wrong, wrong. There are folks all over the planet who feel that feasting on roadkill is a good thing to do. Some of them, doubtlessly, are quite well educated, verbal, and friendly towards strangers. Let’s take a look at some of the modern day proponents of roadkill cuisine.
First, we’ve got the survivalists who are waiting for the day when the government goes into the shitter and chaos is the law of the land. When that day arrives, the mini marts and Safeways will all go away and mankind will be forced to forage for whatever they can get their hands on. The survivalists believe that being prepared for this event is an excellent idea, so they train their troops to forage off the land and to eat what God puts in their path. If your path is a busy highway, and you are a survivalist, that means that roadkill is merely big game taken down by a truck rather than a bullet. Survivalists who utilize roadkill are merely training for the dark future and beyond…..
Next, we have the proponents of super green living who believe that keeping your carbon footprints small by making use of anything that can be recycled is a good reason to put roadkill on your menu. The nutritional value of a victim of road kill is superior to that of farm raised animals. Roadkill is lean and antibiotic free. It is the ultimate organic meat. Super Greeners believe it is not a moral thing to do to chow down on on a commercially raised farm animal when perfectly nutritious roadkill is available for free. All it takes is some effort to locate the roadkill and determine if it is still in an edible state, dress it properly, and either pop it in your freezer, or cook it for tonight’s supper.
Then there are those who like to problem solve for others. This group believes that eating roadkill is the answer to some of the nation’s hunger problems. By teaching those who are poorer and needier than themselves to forage in their communities for the meat left on the side of the road, better nutrition is made available to those slackers at a decidedly cheaper cost to taxpayers than current methods offer. I’m not quite sure if this is a policy idea of the entire membership of the Tea Party movement, mind you. Just a few of them, probably, advocate the idea. I’m not certain that this philosophy is one that could be successfully implemented no matter how many nutzoids support the idea. The vision of requiring the nation’s neediest members to dodge traffic to harvest the roads for food rather than giving them some of my tax dollars to help them purchase nutritious food for their families is ludicrous to the extreme….
As I said at the start of this time’s blog, I found lots and lots of articles on this subject, peoples. I understand the philosophy of utilizing dead game for a positive purpose versus leaving it to uselessly rot. There is a lot of carnage out there on the world’s byways and highways. Many countries, the USA included, have laws on the books about what motor vehicle operators are required to do if they hit and kill a large, meaty animal like a deer or a moose. In the cases of recognized game animals many states in the USA have a policy to take charge of the animal, which is processed by a professional butcher and distributed to food banks and food kitchens designed to serve the needy. Canada and Australia have similar policies. I expect that lots of other countries have this same policy. I got no problems with that. It’s sensible….
What makes me squeamish is the idea of someone, say myself, going out onto the highways to search out that unlucky possum, beaver, or pheasant that didn’t make it safely across the road and dragging it home to prep and eat it. Heck, even if someone gathered and prepped it for me, I don’t believe I’d be able to eat it. I know darn well that Mr. Dave wouldn’t. We do eat organic, only we do it the good ole fashioned commerce-is-good-for-the-American-economy way. We shop at a local market here called New Seasons where they sell certified organic everything. I know what farmer raised my meats, veggies, fruits, and dairy. Organic does taste better, and we like supporting our local farmers. Organic road killed critters, however, is something I have no desire to taste in my lifetime……..yickieeeee…..
I did encounter some interesting information that I think we who were uninformed would find useful to cease our ignorance on this subject. We don’t have to actually participate in roadkill cuisine to educate our minds on the subject, do we?
Here’s a link to Wikipedia which gives a good definition of roadkill. It includes an overview on the numbers of animals killed on the roads annually. The numbers, if they are accurate, really sort of flabbergasted me.
Wikipedia also has an article called Roadkill Cuisine. It was very informative and non judgemental about the subject, unlike myself…..
Wikihow has a rather thorough article on gathering, dressing, and cooking anything that ends up dead on the road. It’s called How to Eat Roadkill. I am not kidding, peoples! Its’ a serious written guide including photographs on how to forage for and dress roadkill.
Pocahontas County, West Virginia, USA, hosts an annual Roadkill Cook off and Autumn Harvest Festival. September 29, 2012, is the date for this year’s cook off. Here’s a link to this year’s festival schedule.
Here is a website with a variety of critter recipes. I am assuming one could substitute road killed critters for the hunter caught kind.
For those of us who prefer to see stuff with our own eyes before we believe:
This is a link to a full six episodes of the British documentary called Road Kill Chef, courtesy of YouTube. Furgus, the chef, is a food forager who also utilizes road killed critters in some of his dishes. You get to watch Furgus, find, dress, cook, and feed his roadkill creations to the public. I watched every episode, mouth sometimes agape…..
Gotta love the Brits! This is another link to a cooking video featuring road killed squirrel. A guy actually brought in a road killed squirrel and showed how to dress and skin it. The hostess of the program then cooked it in a red wine sauce.
Since I was over at YouTube already, here is a clip from the movie Deliverance featuring the dueling banjo scene. This tune was stuck in my head nearly the entire time I was in research mode for this time’s blog.
Lastly, here are a couple of roadkill recipes I came across for those who like to cook and are intrigued by the idea:
1 woodchuck cut into 6 or 8 pieces
1 Tablespoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
Fat for frying
Place woodchuck, salt, and water in pot and bring to boil. Parboil for one hour. Drain meat and pat dry. Dredge in seasoned flour and deep fry until golden brown.
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
courtesy of Robert Kitchenmaster
and Backwoods Bound.com
Salt and pepper
Adolph’s meat tenderizer
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 18 ounce jar Heinz chicken gravy
1 can Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits (baked)
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Rub squirrels with the Adolph’s meat tenderizer. Salt and pepper to taste. Add squirrel to the skillet and cook on high until browned on all sides. Flip as needed.
Place browned squirrels in a crock pot. Add 1 inch of water and cook on high 3-4 hours or until meat starts to fall off the bone. Remove the meat and allow to cool. Save the broth if you want a thinner gravy.
When meat is cooled, remove the meat from the bones and return to crock pot. Add the veggies, gravy, and broth, if desired. Stir together.
Cook on high 1 1/2 hours or until hot.
Serve over buttermilk biscuits.
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