Well, now I am back again for my second blog post and guess what? Instead of failing at sardonic wit and questionable humor now I am just straight up pissed off. And here’s why.
I am assigned with the happy task of writing about the bizarre and the taboo in food. My inspiration comes from a vegan author. Can you believe that?
Yes; there are indeed vegans. And now they have pens.
I read a selection by Gary Steiner. His essay Animal, Vegetable, Miserable is what got me irritated. The piece waves around the typical consciousness and capacity arguments that we all love to hear from our veggie-headed friends. They wear their eating preferences, and their corny reasoning, on their stalks. That’s all fine and good by me. I am used to the implications associated with eating meat: It’s barbarous and belligerent, murderous and mean, and careless and cruel. Therefore any living thing capable of abstract thought can reasonably conclude that pain and suffering befall our animal friends when they are raised and dispatched for our selfish purposes. Our reasoning authors our empathy – we have a moral obligation to choose not to eat meat because we can.
This is where I get offended. I may be a lot of things but dammit I am NOT a reasonable abstract thinker. So there.
Gary thinks I am a taboo eater. I think that is bizarre. I am sure we would have a very pleasant dining experience together. He could condescend to everybody with his anecdotes about those poser vegetarians. He’ll recite the conversation from his last dinner when some poor chump said, “I’m really a vegetarian – I don’t eat red meat at home.”
Gary recalls his scathing response to this jerk. We erupt in to laughter and make some joke about hemp. Then we return to our wonderful meal… only for me to betray Gary with my own transgression.
“Gary, you now I’m a brutish morally bankrupt carnivore that thrives on the suffering of others, but man… somebody put this potato on my plate. It’s in the way of my big bloody red meat hunk, so I’m gonna eat it, too. Don’t worry – I never eat potatoes at home.”
Is this taboo because I am capable of making some other decision? That’s an awful broad brush ya’ got there. I’ll meet Gary in the middle and call it bizarre, because the conflicted feelings arise from different opinions of what survival is.
I approach the issue as an animal (not a stretch for me), because I want to be on a level playing field with all the other critters for now. We’re all just trying to survive.
I hope we can all agree on the two most basic tenets of the survival instinct:
feed and f …um, reproduce.
So, members of every species agree we owe at least that much to our kind. Flying in the face of the survival instinct is truly taboo. That’s when what you’re eating is just plain wrong.
Eating each other? Whoops! That’s definitely a no-no – it straight up punches that whole species proliferation bit in the gut and bites it head off. Eating something you know will kill you? Yep, that would be taboo as well.
Eating a cow whose flatulence is going to trigger a runaway greenhouse gas effect that will rival Venus’ atmosphere? Oh, give me a break Gary. You fart, too. By the time Bessie the Bovine has gassed us out of town, we will be on to wrecking Mars. It’s the survivalist thing to do.
The survivor in me wants to do something taboo that tastes bizarre.
I contemplate survival instinct tenet number one as I walk across campus and ask myself, “What should I eat for dinner?”
Grilled Quad Squirrel
With Sweet Balsamic Glaze
Grilled squirrel, basted in a tangy-sweet balsamic sauce and grilled to perfection. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for Gary.
- Squirrel Trap
- Grill, grill pan, or homecoming bonfire
- Medium Saucepot
- Measuring cups
- 4-6 Quad Squirrel, skinned and deboned*
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- ¾ cup catsup
- 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- A clove or two of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp of Worcestershire or steak sauce
- ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
Step 1: Get your Squirrel
Step 2: Dispatch that tree rat with your chainsaw.
Be sure to save the skin for later projects.
Step 3: Make the sauce.
STEP 4: grill that CRITTER.
Here’s what to do for the cooking part:
Fire up your grill, or start a bonfire. While that’s warming up let’s get started on the sauce.
Season your squirrel with salt and pepper and set aside. Take all that other stuff and dump it in a saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and whisk often to combine the ingredients. Simmer for about 20 minutes or so. Look for the liquid to reduce by about 1/3. If you sniff and it’s waaay too vinegar-hot, you have more simmerin’ to do. Taste often – this stuff will turn the corner from bitter to yummy quickly once you get close.
Once the sauce is done and your grill is good to go, take out your trusty loofah and smear that funky stuff all over your squirrel. Don’t goop it tho – It will burn and char and get yucky. Toss that sucker on the grill. Giggle with delight.
After five minutes or so, flip and baste some more. Repeat until the squirrel meat temp is 165 degrees. Remove from heat, smear another dab of sauce, and let rest for five minutes before serving.
As you may already know, I am a fan of eating with my hands. That’s why I like to take my grilled squirrel and make sammiches!
Toss your squirrel on a French bread roll with a bit of mayonnaise, romaine, and green tomato with just a little shaved parmesan or sliced mozzarella.
I recommend you find somebody to Netflix and chill with after dinner (survival instinct tenet 2).
*If quad squirrel is out of season on The University of Alabama campus, chicken or pork may be substituted in a pinch. Barnyard animals are readily available on the Auburn campus.