Would you ever eat roadkill
How to Eat Roadkill
I once knew an environmental activist who was strictly vegan, apart from the occasional roadkill. "E it is basically vegan," he argued, claiming that he was
I once knew an environmental activist who was strictly vegan, save for the occasional roadkill.
"It's basically vegan," she argued, claiming that because it didn't add to the demand for slaughter or agriculture, she could consume ethical roadkill meat without causing further suffering. That may be the case, but I can't say that their reasoning ever made me eat roadkill myself.
Others, however, are more confident. In fact, there are very serious, avid proponents of roadkill cooking around the world, many of whom argue that food safety is simply a case of following some common sense rules.
Here's What I Can Learn About Roadkill, and How to Eat It. (Disclaimer: I've never eaten roadkill myself and I'm not advocating that you should!)
Check for damage
There is obviously a huge difference between a pheasant that was easily cut off by a car and a hedgehog that was completely crushed by a semi. Similarly, deer can look fine on the outside, but if the intestines are torn there may have been contamination of the meat from the inside. It's well worth doing some research or taking a class on how to play clothing hunt in the field before venturing into the world of roadkill. This way you will have a better idea of how and if an animal can be rescued and what to do to keep it fresh.
There's a good reason grocery stores keep meat in the fridge or freezer. So if an animal has been sitting dead on the street, you need to carefully examine it to find out how long it has been there and whether or not it is still edible. Check the meat for signs of rot or decay, with tell-tale smells being one of the most obvious problems. Also look for parasites or worms, as well as any foreign objects that may have been squeezed into the animal post mortem.
Know your species
Some species are safer to eat than others. Moose, deer, and pheasants are obviously good choices, as are any other species typically hunted or raised for food. Squirrel is also popular and England has a long history of enjoying hedgehog stew. However, badger needs to be cooked very well to avoid trichinella, a disease caused by eating raw or undercooked meat from animals infected with a microscopic parasite called trichinella. Rats should have broad births because of the risk of Weil's disease.
Do you know the law
As strange as it may seem, depending on where you live, eating Roadkill may or may not be legal. In general, however, there is increasing acceptance of roadkill cuisine among legislators, with many pointing out that legal regulation of the harvest of people on often remote country roads is impractical, if not impossible. (The financially troubled authorities may also appreciate help in dealing with this costly problem.)
Cook very well
A quick internet search for authentic roadkill recipes (there are plenty of parodies out there) will tell you one thing: soups, stews, and casseroles are extremely popular. Medium-rare steaks, not so much. One of the cornerstones of roadkill cooking seems frankly to be cooking the crap out of every animal you harvest to minimize your risk of food poisoning, parasites, or other diseases.
When in doubt, don't
"How flat and how fresh is it?" can be the mantra of experienced roadkill chefs. For the rest of us, however, it would be good to be a little careful. Similar to mushroom hunting, one of the simplest rules of roadkill cooking should be, if you are not one hundred percent sure about the safety of your crop, then probably better leave it alone and go to your local grocery store instead. If you really want to try roadkill cuisine, your best bet is to find someone who is experienced and willing to share their secrets first.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) There doesn't seem to be as many roadkill societies as there are mushroom clubs, but still try to get outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, survival skills specialists, and anyone else with a good sense of security and common sense in of the great outdoors. Whether or not they have direct experience of Roadkill's food, their skills and expertise will be invaluable in teaching you how and whether to embark on this fascinating, if somewhat unconventional, culinary adventure.
Let us know your own thoughts and tips on how (and if) you should eat Roadkill in the comments section below.
Meanwhile, this is what a Minnesota man does.
The Perennial Plate Episode 40: Road Kill from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.
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