How Do You Like Your Roadkill Prepared?
Road kill Anyone?
Road kill might make a good name for a band, but does it say supper to you? Well for many eating road kill is a way of life, a way of using that which otherwise would eventually decompose but also be wasted.
Our car culture has produced a number of causalities and not all of them are human. It is a rare driver that has not at least seen a squirrel, fox, beaver, badger, ground hog and so that has attempted to cross the road and failed to get to the other side.
They are considered by many to be collateral damage. The price we pay for the roads and highways that we are dependant upon to get us and our goods from one point to another.
To some people, however, road kill is delicious; provided the right procedures are followed. But more on that a little later on.
I have spent considerable time on the back roads and provincial highways in several provinces and have seen many animals from deer to crows that have been hit by passing vehicles. Some look almost whole as though they are about to get up and move at any moment; others are squashed beyond recognition.
Over the years we have hit very little, close calls with bear and moose; I am not counting bugs here as that tally would be impossible.
Only once have we actually hit anything.
About four years ago, a friend and I were travelling in her pick up along a small provincial highway in northern Ontario as we were rounding one of many curves we spotted a doe and her fawn. There was no place to pull over and the doe made it across the road but the fawn was not so lucky and ran straight into the side of the pickup.
We stopped a bit further on where we could pull over safely and walked back to the deer. The doe had glanced back over her shoulder and then bounded off into he woods.
The young buck died within minutes of our approaching him; we saw the light fail in his eyes.
Fortunately a friend of ours lived only a few miles back down the highway so the truck was turned around and got the buck, it was heavy, and bloody, loaded into the back and we took it to someone who could skin, clean and prepare the meat.
We could have moved the buck to the side and let nature do its job but it made more sense to take the food to someone we knew needed it and would appreciate it.
Human animal interactions are fairly common here in Northern New Brunswick, were I now live; so common that the provincial government has installed moose fencing along some highway stretches. When moose and car meet, the moose is often not the only victim.
So here is the big question, would I eat road kill, my best answer is if it was freshly killed, expertly cleaned and cooked, yes. I do not posses the skills myself to do this but do feel that one of the best ways to honour that which we kill by our driving is to give thanks and consume it.
I was a vegetarian for about 16 years and have only recently returned to eating meat. My prime concern with meat eat when I first became a vegetarian was similar to may other vegetarians that I have know, the cruelty that is involved in keeping and butchering the animals we eat.
Road kill changes that, well the death may not be pleasant but the animal is free right up until it is killed.
Now collecting road kill is a not something you are readily going to do using your car, at least not on well traveled roads, you are better to bike so you can stop and examine the prospective food without having to pull a car over. You can think of this as an extreme food foraging activity.
If road kill is to be added to the menu in restaurants, well the first step is a strong media relations and public education campaign and likely a better name. It will need to be branded more in the wild food image than as something your car hit on the way to the cottage. It will also need to be professionally inspected and another level of bureaucracy created. I can see the cost rising.
Road kill is perhaps best left to those who can appreciate that there is a meal just laying there waiting for you to come along and turn it into dinner.
The following recipe is courtesy of Roadkill Quarterly:
- One 25 to 30 lb beaver (save the tail for beaver-tail soup)
- Two cups flour
- One cup bacon drippings
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 or 4 bay leaves
- 3 or 4 medium onions, chopped.
First, scoop up a beaver. Skin it and take it the skin your local trading post. It's as good as cash. After skinning the beaver, remove all fat. Cut into serving size pieces. Soak in salted water overnight. Rinse meat well in cold water and drain. Roll meat in flour. Brown in skillet with bacon drippings and season with salt and pepper. Place in roaster alternately with bay leaves and onions. Add a small amount of water to remaining drippings in skillet and pour over meat. Roast at 350 degrees for 2 and one half hours or until tender. Uncover and brown 15 minutes before serving. Goes great with a California Merlot.
This actually sound tasty and I do believe if I was invited to sit down to dinner I would say yes, how about you?
Wildroots is a 30-acre radical homestead adjacent to the Pisgah NF in Madison County, Western NC. (about 45 minutes from Asheville).
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