On rodent eating

I saw this article on Boing-Boing and on Mark Maynard’s blog: “To urban hunter, next meal is scampering by
Detroit retiree, 69, supplements his income by living off the land”
from the Detroit News. A quote:

Beasley, a 69-year-old retired truck driver who modestly refers to himself as the Coon Man, supplements his Social Security check with the sale of raccoon carcasses that go for as much $12 and can serve up to four. The pelts, too, are good for coats and hats and fetch up to $10 a hide.

While economic times are tough across Michigan as its people slog through a difficult and protracted deindustrialization, Beasley remains upbeat.

Where one man sees a vacant lot, Beasley sees a buffet.

“Starvation is cheap,” he says as he prepares an afternoon lunch of barbecue coon and red pop at his west side home.

First off, I’m pretty sure that the last thing that Southeast Michigan and Detroit needs in the paper right now is a story about the resourceful use of raccoons as food. “Come to Detroit for the Final Four; stay for the ‘coon.” Ouch. I think I like Mark’s take on this, for the most part.

Second, this reminds me of a time that must be 15 or more years ago now when Sheri Reynolds brought over a muskrat to a party I was having while living at Charlotte’s house in Richmond, Virginia.

I cannot recall the purpose for the party (though I had many parties at that house), nor can I recall the specific purpose for the muskrat. I do remember though that Sheri bought it at some kind of redneck-ish grocery store. It was in in the frozen food section– no kidding. Anyway, she brought this thing over and cooked up a “muskrat bog” in a big pot: lots of rice, onions, stock seasoning, and, of course, muskrat. Stank up the whole house.

I don’t remember what the muskrat tasted like– I imagine a lot like raccoon might taste. But I do recall someone fishing out the muskrat skull from the bog and propping it up on a bunch of beer cans in the kitchen, or perhaps the dining room table.

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