Friday, October 14, 2011

They both eat badger

Two British men are both consuming run-over animals and proud of it. They consider it an environmentally sound alternative to letting the meat go to waste. "It's not killing them for the sake of eating them. They have been accidentally killed…They are organic and in their natural wrappers," says Arthur Boyt (1st image), a retired entomologist living in Davidstow, Cornwall, who goes on to say, "This animal has died and will be eaten by maggots or thrown into the bin. That's a terrible waste and sacrifice of an animal's life. The most noble thing you can do is to give that animal a use." He was 66 when he was profiled in 2006 and had by then been eating roadkill for 50 years. Jonathan McGowan (2nd image), a taxidermist in Bournemouth, Dorset, is 41 and has been surviving on roadkill for 30 years. Here are some of the native species these men have sampled, along with their observations and cooking tips:
  • Badger - Jonathan skins, dices, and browns it in butter until the pieces are golden and stiff. He then flambées it with brandy and simmers it for 2 hrs in dry, sparkling wine. He mixes the cooked meat with the badger's chopped liver, a glass of pig's blood, 2 egg yolks and a pot of crème fraîche, and serves immediately with wild mushrooms or chestnuts.
  • Rabbit - A favorite at Jonathan's dinner parties.
  • Hare
  • Mole - Not recommended by Jonathan, who warns, "They are horrible and have a rancid taste....I've only had one once and never again."
  • Mouse - Mice taste weird, says Jonathan: "There is no other food quite like them. They aren't particularly nice and have a very bitter flavour. They are of course so small that they are almost worthless."
  • Rat - It tastes like ham, according to Jonathan, who stews or stirfries it. He wouldn't eat city rats, but pronounces country rats good: "They are quite like pork but quite salty. They are delicious and the meat is great on its own."
  • Hedgehog - Jonathan describes it as a fatty and mediocre meat, but bakes it in a casserole.
  • Squirrel - Jonathan loves them: "They are most delicious. They provide a good firm white meat which is quite similar to rabbit but not as overpowering. Not many animals taste like what they eat but squirrels do have a nutty flavour. It's fantastic stuff."
  • Stoat
  • Weasel
  • Vole
  • Otter
  • Polecat
  • Wildcat - Jonathan says they are flavorful but rare.
  • Fox - Another favorite meat of Jonathan's guests, he calls it most delicious and describes, "It is a lean meat and there is never any fat. Young foxes are always very nice and they taste slightly like chicken."
  • Roe deer -Arthur roasts it so that it tastes like steak.
  • Greater horseshoe bat
  • Adder - Jonathan fries it up in butter, but says it tastes like bacon rind.
  • Cranefly - Jonathan pan-fries these with olive oil, celery, and raisins.
  • Owl - Jonathan serves it up in a tikka masala or a curry, for which he offers the following recipe: Brown onions and celery in a frying pan for 10 min on high heat; add owl meat, turning until cooked through; after 5 min, turn down the heat and add vegetables, sultanas, coconut, curry paste, cumin, and turmeric; simmer for 10 min, then mix in cream and stir well; serve with pilau or long grain rice. According to Arthur, barn owl is very nutritious.
  • Heron - Jonathan makes heron Bolognese.
  • Pheasant - Jonathan uses it in spaghetti Bolognese. Arthur makes a stew out of it by adding potatoes, carrots, and shepherd's pie sauce.
  • Pigeon - Jonathan marinates them with celery, parsnips, and roasted potatoes and says they are complemented by red wine.
  • Crow
  • Gull
  • Cormorant
  • Finch
  • Thrush
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Swan - Arthur dismisses this bird: "Tasted like mud."
"There, see what you think of that," said Arthur as he served up a previously prepared badger casserole during an interview with a journalist, who likened the taste to a cross between lamb and corned beef. The reporter knew what he was biting into. Jonathan serves roadkill to his dinner guests, who proclaim it delicious before they know what it is.

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