My dad wonderfully stocks our freezer with meat- venison and pheasant which we enjoy throughout the year. Venison chili, pheasant pot pie and all kinds of things that we make from wild game help us to cut down on the meat we buy from the supermarket. I’d like to say that it’s because we’re altruistic about not buying meat from factory farms, and it is in part from our growing awareness about the horrors of the ways animals are treated on these farms. But we also greatly enjoy the fact that the only cost it was to us was the effort of Dave helping my dad to skin the deer and process the meat. I try to stay out of the kitchen when this happens, it just grosses me out too much. Though I grew up in a family with a dad that is a hunter, I really don’t enjoy the process of cooking meat though I do enjoy consuming it in moderation.
On a Friday night awhile ago Dave took what he thought was a pheasant out of our freezer to cook in the crockpot all day. The savory scent of the meat mixed with bay leaves, celery and pepper wafted through the house as the “bird” simmered in it’s juices. I came downstairs from my office to get some coffee right as Dave was lifting the meat out of the crockpot to debone. It didn’t have wings like a pheasant should. The body wasn’t plump like a pheasant. It was long and skinny with four legs. As Dave held the wiry piece of cooked meat between the tongs it dawned on us that it was not a pheasant, it was a squirrel.
We briefly debated about whether to eat it while Dave held the fully cooked squirrel mid-air in the kitchen tongs. This debate lasted about 30 seconds before he threw the wiry piece of meat into the trash and and began discussing what else we could have for dinner.
Though I’m fairly adventurous when it comes to what I eat, I just couldn’t bring myself to stomach a creature that I could see climbing the trees in my backyard while I ate it. I think this is the same reason I couldn’t eat fish growing up- I didn’t like the idea that I swam with what I ate. Also, my dad traumatized me with a fish when I was little. He had gone ice fishing and was “teaching” me, his sweet, chubby-cheeked blond three year old daughter how to filet a fish. As he grabbed one of the half-frozen fish from his bucket it started flopping around in front of my face as I stood between my dads arms on a step-stool. Standing there in my red footie jammies, I started screaming and squirming to get down but my dad simply grabbed the fish that was in front of my face, slit under it’s gills and it stopped flopping around. Since then, no matter how many camping trips with fresh perch cooked over the fire, no matter how many Friday night whitefish dinners are offered at restaurant, I just can’t bring myself to eat fish.
What are some odd things that you’ve eaten? This is probably one of the more tame things I’ve had/or thought about having. I’m sure there are some good stories about being in other countries that people have about cross-cultural dining experiences! Do share!