Hear me out.
The backstory: A few weeks ago I attempted to make bread for the first time. It was a focaccia. Baby steps. Focaccia is both relatively simple to create and the epitome of a savory delight. But I was nervous and had mixed feelings about the results so I didn’t post about it. I consider this a poor move, and that sort of hesitancy stops here and now. What is this blog if not a shared adventure that sometimes involves weirdness or failure?
This brings me to the squirrel salad sandwich. For college graduation I bought my boyfriend (Chris) an L.L. Bean Cookbook, which describes squirrel meat as a wild game delicacy whose flavor cannot be matched. We kind of ignored this statement for a while, until last week when he brought home a field-dressed squirrel. This was in compliance with the house rules: If something is put in the fridge as a cleaned, prepared and unrecognizable ingredient, then I will most likely accept it and turn it into a meal.
However, I was totally turned off by this squirrel. For days it was (metaphorically) staring me right in the face, forcing me into some deep and uncharted self-inquiry. I never in a million years thought I was the kind of person who would taste, never mind cook, a squirrel. Am I that person? Is this too far? What does this mean? Would I post about it? Slowly I began to wonder, what will it taste like?
If I didn’t make a decision soon it was going to spoil, and that had to be worse fate of all. It’s just meat. I’ve tried rabbit. Among meat-eaters, rabbits are generally accepted as an offbeat thing to stew or braise, and how are they actually any different? I respect belief systems, but it’s hard for me to get behind an idea with which I do not agree.
So, we boiled the squirrel, pulled the meat and I took a bite. I’m not even sure what I wanted to feel, but it was just downright tasty. Cross my heart it tasted like the dark meat of a chicken- moist, mild, and completely palatable. Chris made the rest into a chopped salad with mayo, mustard, celery and dried cranberries to share with a few curious friends, and that was the end.
I doubt that I am going to start eating squirrel on the regular, but I am glad I cooked it and glad I tried it. There are countless epicurean adventures to be had with food and I want to make sure I approach each one with consideration, lest I miss out for no reason. I’m not sure where we go from here, but trust I will let you know.
This leaves me wondering, how do you feel about the weridest thing you’ve ever tasted?