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Aug 9, 2006 01:21 AM

Do any cultures eat owl?

While doing some research recently I ran across this bit of folklore: if a woman feeds her husband roasted owl, he will become completely subservient to her every wish. Words to this effect appear on hundreds of folk wisdom web sites although none has any information about the source. So my question is, who eats owl? I've never heard of it -- do people hunt owl for meat? Also, have any of you heard that folklore indepently of my bringing it up just now?

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  1. Do people eat any raptors? All of the recipes for game birds that I can think of (Western cuisine -- I have no idea about Asia on this)serve up birds that eat veggies or insects, not other birds or rodents.

    1. i believe in some parts of Alaska owl is eaten.

      12 Replies
      1. re: mabziegurl

        You can probably eat just about any dead animal you want to, given the opportunity. We have seen frozen armadillo and fox in the meat cases of Asian groceries in the San Gabriel Valley of LA County, and have wondered just who on earth would willingly choose to eat these things. I can imagine some crazed Chinese guy thinking that by eating a fox he would become wily and wise, but an armadillo? Would that make you more willing to accept being run over by a pickup truck? The mind boggles...

        1. re: Will Owen

          Perhaps some crazed Chinese might find what you eat disgusting. You evidently didn't read the thread on wierdest things people have eaten.

          1. re: chocolatetartguy

            As a "crazed Chinese," (LOL) I have to respond to this. Every weekend, my mom would have a fish, turtle, crab, pigeon, or something crawling, swimming, or flapping in our kitchen. I grew up on duck's tongues, fish eyes, and soy sauce in my morning oatmeal (an American version of jook). Imagine my horror when I left for college and discovered that "white people" ate their oatmeal with sugar! jam! honey! And then there were the horrors of Wonder bread, Salisbury steak, chipped beef, boiled gray string beans, and other strange, exotic inedibles. LOL!

            1. re: Claudette

              You go sister. I couldn't believe it when I went over to a friends house and she was eating her white rice with cinnamon, sugar and milk, ewww!

                1. re: justagthing

                  its so much better with butter instead of milk, but thats another thread.

            2. re: Will Owen

              When one SF Chinatown market had Armadillo on sale, the sign (in Chinese) said "Tastes just like turtle." Turtle is believed to be a cure for, er, erectile dysfunction, and don't ask how I know that.

              1. re: Gary Soup

                African lunch wagons all over Chicago sell bull's penis. It's all relative. Garden slugs are solid meat and should probably be good vinaigrette on a bed of lettuce but I've never heard of people eating them, and yet slugs with shells, eg snails, are a delicacy.

              2. re: Will Owen

                what did people eat before cattle farms, chicken farms, etc? anything they can catch basically... so armadillo and fox is that really that far fetched? there's meat on them bones...

                1. re: Will Owen

                  I know that Native Americans in Oklahoma/Texas have historically eaten armadillo (often in a stew-like dish) and maybe others have elsewhere.

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    I had armadillo in Jakarta. Fox though, that's intriguing...

                2. IMO, eating an owl is like eating a bald eagle. It's just something you shouldn't do.

                  20 Replies
                    1. re: navygirl7

                      Twinkies are gross! If owl is what you have to eat ,owl is what's for dinner.

                      1. re: navygirl7

                        But what makes it gross? We kill and pluck chickens and eat the meat, so what makes and owl gross?

                        1. re: Ida Red

                          They eat rats. Do you want to eat something that eats rats?

                          1. re: rworange

                            They eat lots of things that I wouldn't like in my food chain. Here's a partial list of various owl's diets.

                            Ants , armadillos, bats, bees, beetles, birds, butterflies, caterpillars, centipedes, cicadas , chipmunks, crayfish, crickets, earthworms, fish, flies, flying squirrels, frogs, grasshoppers, hares, lemmings, lizards, mice, millipedes, moles, moths, muskrats, opossums, pocket gophers, porcupines, prairie dogs, rabbits, raccoons, rats, roaches, roaches, scorpions, shrews, skunks, snakes, spiders, squirrels, toads, turtles, voles, weasels, and woodchucks.

                            1. re: JMF

                              mmm RABBIT taste like chicken, lol!

                            2. re: rworange

                              Don't even think about asking what crabs eat.


                              1. re: rworange

                                Yeah, I thought about the diet of lobsters and crabs ... but the deal is, it is out of site unless you scuba dive.

                                With an owl ... vulture ... etc ... people see them chowing down on unsavory meals.

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    umm, consider what goes into cattle and chicken feed before you start dissing rats. I'm reading a book that says that poultry droppings is a component in cattle feed. And of course, by now we have all heard about how mad cow started by people deciding to put sheep and cow carcasses into cattle feed [turning traditionally vegetarian animals into cannibals]. So if you eat chicken and you eat cows. . . .

                                    We don't eat owls because its not in our culture and the ratio of bone to meat is probably pretty thin. And maybe they don't taste the best.

                                    1. re: jenn

                                      Fast Food Nation, turned my eyes around.

                                    2. re: rworange

                                      My Vietnamese friend says that at the end of the rice harvest in the Mekong delta, folks eat (I think deep-fried) the rice-fatten rats. She says that she could never get to eating rat, though....

                                      1. re: joltgrrl

                                        If the rats are eating rice, not rubbish, there is nothing wrong with that. No worse than eating cuy.

                                        Think of city pigeons vs squab.

                                        Of course people ate urban pigeons, rats, alley cats and many other creatures in wartime, but that was a matter of survival.

                                      2. re: rworange

                                        lol Actually, rats aren't that filthy. They're quite clean for a rodent. I would be half curious to try nutria rat. Wonder if it tastes any good. In asking if a culture eats a certain animal too, a person has to keep in mind, not all animals taste so good. For a very long time people didn't eat caftish even if they were quite readily available because they were considered trash fish because they lived on the bottom and rooted around in river detritus. It took a cajun to figure out they and tilapia were very tasty.

                                        1. re: NecrochildK

                                          not everyone thinks catfish and tilapia are very tasty, that's for sure!

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            Alkapal, re your catfish prejudice: Buy catfish filet (it's farmed nowadays, not filthy). Roll it in melted butter then in bread crumbs and bake it in a 450* oven. It's a sweet, non-fishy tasting fish that will appeal to fish-haters. So sweet and bland that you need to serve it with maybe a zingy fresh salsa and some black beans and rice a la Cuban, or a sweet-and-sour pineapple sauce and rice a la Asian.

                                        2. re: rworange

                                          snakes eat rats and people eat snakes

                                        3. re: navygirl7

                                          I had a friend of mine that wasn't very adventurous when it came to food. One day I had mentioned something about a duck dish and she said that she didn't like duck. I asked her if she had ever tried it and she said no. I thought that was ridiculous....

                                        4. re: Cheese Boy

                                          You understand me! Thank you sir!!!!

                                        5. Up until WWII Americans ate many more types and parts of animals than we do today. We are only starting the journey back to some of our earlier dining customs.

                                          John Hodgman in his May 12, 2004 article, Extreme eating, in New York Magazine (see link below) wrote that Mary Land instructs in her 1954 book, Louisiana Cookery, that owls are to be fricasséed.

                                          I figure that if it's in a 1954 cookbook then it must have been a somewhat common practice. At least on the level of eating game like squirrels and such.

                                          Personally I am against eating raptors for a variety of reasons.


                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: JMF

                                            By the way here is the exact Owl recipe from Louisiana Cookery, circa 1954.

                                            "Pick, clean, and marinate in vinegar and oil overnight. Parboil, then dust with flour, and fricasse until done, adding water or marinade."

                                            This recipe was just after a recipe for crows and a few before a recipe for porpoise.

                                            1. re: JMF

                                              A cookbook devoted to seal recipes was just released in Sweden.

                                              1. re: JMF

                                                I've had pickled seal. It's fantastic.


                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                  I've eaten seal in Nunavik (Arctic Québec). It is a normal dish up there, though I far prefer caribou.

                                              2. re: JMF

                                                porpoise, now that *is* flipper! boy some would have those cookbook writers strung up these days.

                                                (and PETA gets angry about a fly getting swatted!).

                                            2. If it was commercially farmed, I would eat owl (or any other kind of raptor, incl. eagles, hawks, etc.).

                                              But I think the reason owls aren't more popular is because they don't have very much meat on them bones ... and what meat there is probably very tough and sinewy.

                                              Now, pigeons I would do any day of the week ...

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                Gotta add my 2 cents on pigeons. They are not native to the US and where brought over as a food item. See what happens when you let your food wander!

                                                1. re: justagthing

                                                  I was so excited going to Egypt for the opportunity to try pigeon - and that was just not a meal I'd ever seek to repeat. It could easily have been where we were eating them, but we had them grilled and fried. And it was a bit of a toss up which one was less appetizing.

                                                  I think at the end of the day, it was mostly a case of the meat to skin/bone ratio just did not end up making it feel like a meal that was worth it.

                                                  1. re: justagthing

                                                    Ernest Hemingway describes catching a pigeon in a Paris park, during his days of early poverty, strangling it, and secreting it under the blankets in his baby's pram---intended for dinner.