I am Like Mike!

One of the columns in today's paper mentioned that Mike Huckabee's win in Kansas was mentioned three times on meet the press and the fact he had eaten squirrel as a college student was mentioned four times. Barbara laughed at that fact and asked me if I had eaten squirrel. Yes, in that way I am like Mike! That is not to say I like Mike or will vote for him but I have eaten my share of what Ellie May would call critters. Here for your edification is just a list of some of the things I have eaten in my lifetime:
  • I have eaten enough pheasant in my life to cause an environmental impact statement to be filed. We would go to Susank, KS almost every year for hunting season and the hunters would almost always donate the birds to my grandparents to fee the masses. I'm sure that in the long run, the beer and whiskey bought and paid for by Curly in trade for the pheasants drove the price up pretty high but I was just a kid so what did I care. Grandma would bake them for an hour or so at a low temperature and then fry them in pork fat. I'm sure that Col Sanders never cooked up a better tasting plate of any fowl. Along with this pheasant mess I probably also ate quail, and some prairie chicken. I know we shot a meadowlark or two but I'm pretty sure we didn't eat them.
  • Rabbit. Fried, stewed and baked. Tastes like chicken but without the benefit of white breast meat.
  • Frog Legs. Tastes like someone stored small chickens in a root cellar until they just started to go bad. With fried onions and potatoes who cared. My frog hunting story is a hoot. Remind me to tell it to you sometime. Barbara has listened to it several times and is probably glad that I will write it so she can skip over it.
  • Raccoon. The family up the street from us went "coon" hunting every year. In the early winter months it was legal to take one or two as sport. You could run them in the summer but you couldn't kill them. Mrs Lawrence would clean then and put them in a BBQ sauce. We would eat them on hamburger buns and they were great. Hey, I was a hungry kid what did I know.
  • Turtle. One year my grandfather cooked some turtle soup and we all ate it before he told us what it was. It tasted like a slightly strange potato soup to me. Ate it anyway!
  • Capi Berra. This is a large rodent that was everywhere in Panama. At the jungle school we were given a "feast of wild things we could eat there in a survival portion of the course. I think there was some monkey, some quati mundi (Like a long tailed coon that slept with a monkey) and at least one kind of lizard.
  • Goat. In San Antonio, there is a restaurant that prides its self on having some of the best goat "al carbon" or grilled. Eat it with flour tortillas like Fajitas and man is that some good stuff.
  • Fish of all kinds, shapes and sizes. I don't particularly like catfish unless if is farm raised. The "out of the river" catfish taste kind of muddy to me. My grandfather lived on Beaver Lake in Arkansas in his later years and we would almost always have a crappie fish fry at least once when we would visit. He used a batter made from corn, ground at the "War Eagle" mill and beer. My son, who won't eat fish here in Kansas would eat Curly's fried fish. As a kid, we ate a lot of Salmon patties made with canned salmon, bones and all. I also ate a lot of canned Tuna and today I can't abide the smell, let alone the taste of Tuna. I ate shark one time in California and found it very bland and if had not been for the caper sauce it would have been impossible to eat.
  • In Little Rock, Arkansas there was a place called "SOB's". That was for shrimp, oysters and beer hause. I would start with a dozen oysters, a half pound of shrimp boiled in beer and a pitcher of beer. Then we would hit the sights and sounds of "little pebble" and probably stop for some more shrimp and beer on the way home. I like crab legs but have never really developed a taste for lobster. Got sick after eating a lobster in California and I'm sure that the black russians and rusty nails had noting to do with my being sick. Damned lobster went bad.
  • Venison. My sister and her husband Ray almost always have some deer meat chili at our family Christmas get together. To me it tastes like regular chili but I'm sure that is part of the point.
  • Buffalo. At least once a year someone here nearby has some kind of a fund raiser where they cook buffalo burgers. You pay an inflated price and get a burger that tastes like ketchup and mustard. (Don't forget the pickle, tomato and lettuce) I personally can't taste the difference. They tell me that it is lower in fat but then they fry it with some oil on a grill. (Bet it is pork fat, it rules)
  • Speaking of pork, I helped my Grandfather kill, clean and butcher a hog in Arkansas when I was about 13. It took up almost all day and man was it messy. After the women packaged up the meat, Grandma Erma then began the task of rendering the lard. She cooked that big old pot of pork fat and alternated between putting in big slabs of fat and taking out lard and pork rinds until they had that hog reduced to nothing more than the oink and lots of packages. They got some sausage spices in town and if it wasn't packaged or rendered, it went in to the sausage grinder.
I guess that where and when you grew up made a big difference in what you ate. Kids today have probably not seen a chicken fed like a pet, killed, cleaned and eaten. As a 60 year old, I have had the experience of killing and eating a lot of things. I think that today I have a reverence for wild animals and probably could fill my belly here at Rabbit Run but choose not to. It is lightly snowing and the birds are eating their fill of seeds. There is hardly never a time when one woodpecker or another isn't swinging on the suet block and eating their fill. I'll bet it is pork fat holding those seeds together.


  1. I have eaten pheasant, quail, and prairie chicken. I've also had rabbit, but you have to cook it right or it's tough.

    We eat our share of venison. I've got venison stew meat thawed in the fridge now and I can make a killer venison stew.

    I've had frog legs, but I don't care much for them. "Crappie" always makes me laugh. I've never eaten any. It just doesn't sound like it would taste good even now that I know to say the "a" like and "o".

    I've heard that in South America they have a nickname for capybara--something to do with calling it a fish. Some say it is a fish since it spends so much time in the rivers just so they can get away with eating it during Lent. I don't know about you, but I think that's cheating and I wouldn't be willing to cheat so I could eat a giant guinea pig. Of course I'm Protestant and don't celebrate Lent and still don't want to eat that giant guinea pig.

  2. I laughed out loud when I read, "To me it tastes like regular chili but I'm sure that is part of the point."

    Do y'all have those Shetland Pony size rabbits up in Kansas? The first time that I drove Bean to Altus, OK, she was sleeping and one ran out in front of the car. I promise that it was as big as a cocker spaniel. It would have destroyed her little car, but they look like they would be tough as nails.