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Squirrel..... would you...

eat one???

Was watching the F Word last night (with my soon to be husband Gordon), and the last part of the show was about squirrels,and eating them. People on the street were tasting cooked squirrel, and those who had the cojones to do it (seems those Brits will eat pretty much anything) said it tasted like chicken or quail...

Vote me out of the squirrel eating contest. No can do.

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    1. why not? I'm sure it tastes like rabbit. I remember my father (who grew up in western md) talked about how he remembered eating squirrel pot pie (pennsylvania dutch version) as a little kid and how great it tasted. Sounds good to me

      Anything that feeds on acorns is bound to taste good - see jamon iberico

      1. In a heartbeat! Those @#$% critters dig up my yard, eat my rosebuds, and taunt our cat.

        Only problem is, I don't like chicken (too blah) and found that alligator, frog, rabbit (fresh, homegrown), snake - all taste like chicken to me.

        When a friend of mine told me that chicken doesn't taste like chicken anymore, and I had to agree: my husband and I had a plain roast chicken once in Santa Rosa that had so much flavor that we fought over every last morsel. It must have been one of those fresh local chickens from one of the SR/Petaluma chicken farms.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Claudette

          alligator taste like chicken? I found it a deliciously sweet meat, and I loved it! Super juicy and tender, I wish i found it more often... Ct is not quite the alligator hot spot

        2. I did! Years ago a friend invited me for dinner and of all things he cooked a squirrel paprikas. I understood the paprikas part as he is Hungarian, the squirrel was a surprise (out of his own backyard) . It wasn't a standout. I remember not enjoying sucking the meat off the tiny little bones and I thought the flavor of the meat was very mild.

          1. If you lived in the USA anywhere outside of the handful of major cities 50 or more years ago, you ate squirrel and loved it. And possum, and rabbit, and bear, and beaver, and woodchuck, and muskrat, and raccoon, and dove, and swamp rat and armadillo and all manner of other creatures, depending upon where you lived specifically.

            You ought to get yourself an older copy of "The Joy of Cooking" and read up on how we ate not so long ago.

            17 Replies
            1. re: uptown jimmy

              Uptown, I have an old copy of the Joy of Cooking. The game section is huge and goes into great detail. They never should have edited or removed that part.

              I live in southern Arizona. Every once in a while I see a squirrel in the back yard, and think- "Oh how cute!" There is a small population at work, and most of us hope the hawks or the bobcat don't kill them. However, if they reached a huge volume and got to yhr point of being a pain in the butt, like I know they can be, I'd have no problem eating a squirrel or two. But I wouldn't kill, skin or gut one.

              1. re: EWSflash

                You mean you'd just eat em alive?????

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  Ha Ha Sam! Served on a platter, pre cooked is the way to eat them! Just my opinion.

                  Here in Houston our backyard is full of squirrels and doves, 2 fine eating foods, but my cat is the killer and keeps dropping them on the back porch. Beyond disposing of them, I wouldn't have a clue what to do to get them ready for cooking. I guess I need Alan Barnes daughter to come give me a hand!

                  1. re: danhole

                    We used to shoot squirrels at my Uncle's place not too far from Houston. My Grandmother would chicken fry them, whole, head cut off and gutted, look out for shotgun pellets. We picked off doves from the Loew's drive-in I worked at in high school, cruising the lot in daylight, pellet gun the weapon of choice. All doves were consumed, usually wrapped in bacon and baked. I hope the statute of limitation ran out on this one, it was the 70's, and Dani can attest, Houston is overun with dove, I don't think I put a dent in the population. Oh yeah, my cat once brought home my neighbor's rabbit, two neat holes in the neck, vampire style. My father discreetly disposed of the bunny, lest WW III break out. Years later, looking back, maybe we should have consumed it too.

                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Yep., Sam, right down theol' pie hole! Damn squirrels, anyway.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Reminds me of the old joke about how you eat armadillo - "One eye on the dillo and one eye on the highway."

                    2. re: EWSflash

                      The Joy of Cooking edition from the mid-90's (I think?) doesn't have the game section, but it was also lacking in many other ways. So much so that they re-released the 1975 edition, complete with game section. My mom gave me a copy a few years when I threatened to take the (now very well worn) one she got as a wedding present oh so long ago.

                      1. re: mpjmph

                        My old copy is so fragile, I'm really glad you posted this, I'm going to get a newone. Thanks very much, mpjmph. My old copy is probably from the '50s.

                        1. re: EWSflash

                          You might have to do some searching, they have released an anniversary edition since the re-release of the 1975 edition. I haven't read through the anniversary one, so can't vouch for it. Just make sure it's very clear which one you're getting. The 1975 re-release will say so on the cover.

                          1. re: mpjmph

                            My parents got married in 1937 and I believe Mother's copy is from about that time. I've always loved that refrigeration wasn't common and it gave instructions on plucking chickens. I'll have to check out the game recipes. Hers is so fragile that I bought another one, not quite as old, to actually use. Thanks for the memories.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              JOC is very near and dear to my heart... My parents received a copy when they bought their first house in 1976. While I learned a lot about cooking from my mom and grandmother, most of my first cooking experiences on my own were recipes from that copy of JOC. It's falling apart and food stained now, but that sea foam green book is probably my favorite book ever.

                    3. re: uptown jimmy

                      I remember telling a guide at Colonial Williamsburg that the most historically inaccurate thing about the place was that it was overrun with squirrels. In Colonial days they would have been nearly as many,and the ones that were around wouldn't have been brazenly burying acorns in the lawns.

                      If I ate the squirrels in my yard, my dog would die of boredom.

                      1. re: uptown jimmy

                        My father was a trapper and used his skills to supplement his income during the Depression. While I would agree that certain animals like the rabbit and dove were widely eaten by the masses, the market for muskrat, raccoon, and opossom were very limited to a very few poor folks. And if you wanted to sell opossom, you made sure that you left the heads on for sale as you might be accused of selling rat.

                        Squirrel and rabbit were generally the basis of a number of colonial era brunswick stew as one mid-atlantic food historian related to me years ago.

                        1. re: jlawrence01

                          One would wonder why Erma thought to include instructions on cooking animals that almost noone ate....

                          1. re: uptown jimmy

                            Because it was the ultimate American-based cookbook that was developed at a time when a lot of Americans ate the game they had available to them.

                            1. re: EWSflash

                              Yeah. That's what I was implying. But re-stating it for the irony-impaired is aiways nice.

                          2. re: jlawrence01

                            According to the authors of "Lobscouse and Spotted Dog" (the cookbook derived from Patrick O'Brien's British Navy novels), rat can be pretty tasty. But even I will only go so far...

                        2. I thought squirrels carry rabies?

                          16 Replies
                          1. re: duckiedog

                            Duh, any mammal caries rabies, including you!

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              Yeah. The key is to avoid the squirrels that are foaming at the mouth and chasing you around the yard trying to eat you.

                              But that's a pretty easy distinction from "normal" squirrels. As a matter of fact, squirrels probably carry rabies less often than most mammals, as they are fiendishly quick, and of course their biggest risk is from predatory birds and snakes, not other mammals.

                              There's areason why there's so many freaking squirrels around these days, and pigeons too: country folk stopped eating them.

                              1. re: uptown jimmy

                                More people in the 'burbs need air rifles. With a good backstop and a pellet that's heavy enough to stay subsonic, you can get some tasty meat without pissing off the neighbors.

                                I live in a subdivision on a greenbelt that has recently become infested - seriously - with wild turkeys. They have plenty of food and no predators. A while back I looked out the window of my home office and saw my teenage daughter creeping down the sidewalk with a salmon net and a folding knife. Daddy's girl.

                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  Hope she was dressed in a leopard skin.

                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                    Wouldn't squirrel skins be more appropriate?

                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                      I agree KT. I was thinking that leopard skins would probably scare the bejeebers out of the little fellas.

                                    2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      The only article of clothing she owns that looks like leopard skin is a bikini.

                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                        Lordy. This thread is getting exciting. Teenage girls hunting wild game in leopardskin bikinis.

                                        I'm off to take a cold shower.

                                    3. re: alanbarnes

                                      Man, I saw wild turkeys for the first time last year in the TN mountains outside of Chatanooga. It was the weirdest thing, these two well-dusguised, large round beasts poking around off in the woods, almost invisible they were so camouflaged, just like watching two pieces of the forest move around against a forest background, if you know what I mean.

                                      And then a crazy burst of energy and they just disappeared. I had no idea what I had just seen. Later the owner of the property told me they were probably turkeys. My later research taught me something new: there's two kinds of birds, with regards to flight: those who fly straight and go far, and those who fly in short, sudden bursts, and always almost straight up. Turkeys and chickens are the latter type. So the turkeys had done the one thing I never expected: while I was peering deeper into the woods, where I thought they had fled, whatever they were, they had simply exploded straight up into the trees and perched there for a while.

                                      Anyway, I have a friend up in NC with an old country neighbor who hunts turkeys. I'm hoping to go hunting with him sometime and get the whole experience, from woods to oven.

                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                        I LOVE this post Alan!!! I remember, distinctly, knowing exactly how many pumps it took to get the different desired results out of our bb/pellet gun. My girl (age 11) is toying with being a vegetarian that eats bacon from time to time and has recently experimented with lavender flans. As for your girl...Top Critter Chef look out! Cheers. Emory J

                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                          How heavy is the salmon net?Turkey is no small push over.
                                          Our state side home is at the end of a 17 mile green zone one mile from the DC line.Last three weeks have yielded 18 punk rats(squirrels)with a 22.The weapon of choice here for domesticated/acclimated geese and turkeys is a hard garden rake.We also have four ,maybe five coyote/or wolf/dog hybreds,
                                          the jury's still out.The pre-colonial range> east was thought to end ?Ohio.
                                          Wolves however were all of N.America and they interbreed readily with domestic dogs.Had a problem one on the news this AM.I suppose they will work on fawns etc when they run out of neighborhood tramp cats and dogs.
                                          The dynamics of this is long from a level spot.Mrs red fox is welcome.She is fabulous rodent control.You have my sympathies.I had one neighbor with a
                                          damn illegal salt lick(thinks?) bambi is cute.Learned the error three or four hard ways.

                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                            Wild turkeys have had a population boom in eastern Massachusetts for the last decade or so, even in built-up suburbs. The main problem is that they have no street smarts and block traffic as they stroll across main roads. My mail route included a portion of Rt 3 in Woburn wherein a territorial tom stood on the yellow line every rush hour, pecking at cars. If they slowed down and honked, it drove him berserk, as did the sound of the mail truck. Eventually, when the police and animal control were in the area, a shot was heard and Alfred was never seen again. I suspect that local authorities in many areas will ignore illegal trapping/shooting of turkeys. There is also a glut of Canada geese who no longer migrate and the MSPCA did investigate whether they could be a food source if the population was culled, but found that they taste pretty awful.

                                            1. re: greygarious

                                              I've had the same problem in eastern CT.... My neighborhood is infested with wild turkeys, and they always block the road!! Ugh, when I'm running late for work and they are just sitting in the road, I just want to run them over!!

                                          2. re: uptown jimmy

                                            Had a homemade dumpster out back a while ago. The lid was opened in the morning then closed at night (keep out squirrels as well as dogs, cats, 'coons, skunks, etc).
                                            One day, absent mindedly humming to myself, I carried a garbage bag to the bin & tossed it in. Lo and behold, a gray squirrel 'came outta nowhere' hopped from bag to bag, jumped to the lip of the bin and launched itself at me. It must have been hilarious seeing me scream like a schoolgirl, ducking, and protecting my face from this feral, dangerous, disease ridden rodent.
                                            Dang varmint...wasn't trying to attack me, just getting to the tree which was directly behind me.
                                            Let me just say what ensued did piss off the neighbors and led to a visit by the local constabulary...something about discharging a firearm within town limits...I still don't know what they were talking about.

                                              1. re: porker


                                                I didn't respond to this way back when but I think about this story from time to time and always have a good laugh! Thanks for providing such a tremendous visual, and laughs I really need. I think I can even hear that scream!

                                        2. I have and I would again. It's pretty common in parts of the rural south. It's a small wild rodent, kind of like eating rabbit....

                                          1. Squirrel is delicious!!!!!

                                            1. Squirrel burgoo recipe, courtesy of my home state: http://www.foodreference.com/html/ken...

                                              It's a pain in the ars to prepare, apparently, since you get so little meat from each squirrel.

                                              1. Why not? If I didn't know they ate my neighbours garbage, I'd trap the ones in my backyard and stew them.

                                                I bet it tastes better than squeasel.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                                  I wonder how many people got the squeasel reference. My wife and I always use it, saw the repeat last week BTW. Actually never ate squeasel, though.

                                                  I ate squirrels all the time as a kid hunting in nearby woods. They aren't associated with rabbies, but more likely tularemia (rabbit fever). One of the symptoms of tularemia is a spotted liver, but I never encountered this in a squirrel (did come across it in a rabbit though).
                                                  Had it baked, but it tended to dry out. Better in stews - quartered, browned, then braised along with some root veggies. Not a whole lot of meat mind you, but tasty.

                                                  I wouldn't want to eat a critter which lives in an urban setting, though.

                                                  1. re: porker

                                                    Just to check: wasn't it the term used by Bourdain's Vietnamese friend? At first Bourdain couldn't figure out what turned out to be a porcupine.

                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                      Yeah, thats it. Tony only figures it out after getting a mouthful of quill. Still, the carcass on the cutting board was quite unrecognizable....

                                                      1. re: porker

                                                        No, his buddy describes quills to him and he makes the connection.

                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                          Actually, I do believe the old lady cook handed him a quill or two and THEN he made the connection!

                                                    2. re: porker

                                                      Come to think of it, for the last month the squirrels here have been feasting on the italian prune plums in our two trees and neglecting the garbage. Écureuil aux pruneaux is starting to sound like a pretty good idea.

                                                  2. When I was a kid I read truckloads of Jack London-type into-the-wild-books. There would always be this triumphant scene where the protagonist learns to catch his first squirrel or rabbit or whatever, and I always got so hungry reading those scenes. So to answer your question, yes, I would eat any small woodland mammal, with relish.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                      reading many books led to some horrible cooking disasters! Like the redwall series? I tried making oatcakes the way they described, and they tasted like paste. Tried roasting (horse) chestnuts and got pretty sick..... stupid kid me. lol made an acorn flour? ew. tried to catch a squirrel to eat, and just got realy frustrated, lol.

                                                    2. The squirrels here (LI/NY) are appearing particularly well-fed this year, they've been feasting on corn from the field next to us and all manner of nuts and seeds, leads one to believe it will be very cold this winter. I don't know that it would persuade me to eat them however. I think my husband might though, he's much less picky than me, I know they ate rabbit in his family back in the day so he's got some experience with that, he likes deer meat and stuff, we have wild turkey's in the field too, he's talked about getting a bow and arrow lately too.... guess we'll be ready for Armegheddon, soon!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: moma1bud

                                                        Hah! I was just thinking the ones in Central Park look particularly juicy and delicious.

                                                      2. Years ago, my ex-grandmother-in-law invited my then husband and me to eat dinner with her. She had what looked like stewed chicken in gravy over rice and some veggies. After we finished eating, she mentioned that it was squirrel. I couldn't really tell at all that it wasn't chicken and it was really tasty.

                                                        1. Eat one? No way. They're too small. Two or three, on the other hand, make a tasty meal.

                                                          24 Replies
                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                            No greater joy than pickin' a fat gray squirrel off the bird feeder, even better than baitin' bears.
                                                            Oooooo, politically incorrect? Yum! The diff between a chowhound and a foodie????
                                                            Fifty years of gray squirrel and still kickin' (Me, not the squirrel.).
                                                            Just Grousein' (Them's wicked good too.).

                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                              Yes, I eat them. I hate them chewing up my bird feeders, too and destroying my fruit crops! I use an air rifle.
                                                              Rocky and Natasha

                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                I used to use my 22 pistol for "sport", not any more, a shot to the head w/ w/ my 22 rifle is clean, quick and leaves more meat.

                                                              2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                Hmm, grey squirrel. We have grey squirrels where we live, and they are huge and well-fed, lots of meat. But the Large black squirrelsin Stanley Park in Vancouver, now those are huge! I always thought there would be way more meat on those squirrels. but do you think there is a taste difference?

                                                                1. re: moh

                                                                  While they all taste good, taste varies by their diet

                                                                  1. re: moh

                                                                    Too bad the Delmarva Fox Squirrel is endangered. At 3 pounds each, those beasts would make a pretty good meal!

                                                                    1. re: mpjmph

                                                                      Maybe they are endangered because they are so big? Much more efficient to hunt for a 3 pound squirrel than 2 1 pound squirrels!

                                                                      1. re: moh

                                                                        Ahh moh, I'll have to work out the proof, but your math sounds suspect.

                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                          Oops! Brain fart! No need to work on the proof, my bad. Numbers, such a tricky thing...

                                                                          All I know is that with my pathetic hunting skills, I'd have better luck bagging a large 3 pound squirrel than 2 or 3 one-pound squirrels.

                                                                          No, I am much more of a gatherer. Bacon and charcuterie from this store, raw milk cheese from that store, fruit from all over the place, chocolate from selected stores. I'm a modern baby!

                                                                          1. re: moh

                                                                            Not only are these suckers big, they're no where near as jittery/jumpy as your standard backyard squirrel. No tail flicking and squawking, just a cold, hard stare. Alas, they are now pretty much only found on Assateague Island in VA/MD, and the only dumber than hunting an endangered species is hunting one on federally owned/controlled land.

                                                                            1. re: moh

                                                                              I was just funnin' moh.
                                                                              mp, reminds me of the story of a guy who was on trial for killing a bald eagle. His defence was that he was lost and starving - it was the only way to survive. The judge let him go, but asked what bald eagle tasted like.
                                                                              The man replied "kinda like spotted owl."

                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                Oooh, for this I have a recipe for a lovely madeira-based snail darter compote.

                                                                      2. re: moh

                                                                        Moh, have you ever read the novel Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor. About a chef who has just that idea about the squirrels in Stanley Park (and other critters).

                                                                        1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                          I have not read this book! But I am relieved to know that I am not the only one who has had thoughts about eating those big black squirrels. I always felt a little bad when I thought that way.

                                                                      3. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                        Ooooh, you guys are scarin' me! I have a charming little band of squirrels that visit my back yard and do great service. They chase the bird population into neighbor's yards (who needs them depositing their weed-seed-excrement all over the lawn!), and they carry off the pecans I don't gather. Ever had a lawnmower blade hit a bunch of hiding pecans? Shrapnel!

                                                                        There is a band of about seven of them, but I'm pretty sure one of them is a drag queen. Big and fluffy and swishy! Oh, and blond and cute, but none of the other squirrels like him, so he plays alone. So no one better lay a hand (or missile) on MY squirrels!

                                                                        On the other hand, if I happened to run across some already skinned and dressed in the freezer section of my supermarket....

                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                          If he comes around wearing a tiara, you'll know for sure he's a drag queen. I wish he was in my yard - instead, I have a lunatic squirrel who squaks like a duck. None of the other squirrels will go near him. He might be a serial killer squirrel...

                                                                          1. re: Claudette

                                                                            Oh, my neighbor claims we have one of those lunatic serial killer squirrels!

                                                                            The squirrels are really fat and sassy this time of year. Maybe I should get an air rifle and train my dog to retrieve.

                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                              Friend at work bought the Twirl a Squirrel/Squirrel flinging bird feeder. If a squirrel steps on it it triggers something that spins him right off the bird feeder. She says it is hysterical and very effective.

                                                                              *Never ate squirrel. I don't like tiny bones.

                                                                              1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                One of my neighbors had one of those. The squirrels loved it - they would deliberately play on the thing like they were trying to be Rocky or something.

                                                                            2. re: Claudette

                                                                              I've had several squirrels that "barked" at me and stood their ground. This is pretty rare, in my book. They didn't last long...

                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                  Can chihuahuas climb trees? Possibly, short-legged, bob-tailed variety?

                                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                                    They climb trees when advertising squirrel meat tacos or when chased by a glazed eyed Texab un Conn. w/ his 44 magnum air rifle!

                                                                          2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                            You might get a kick out of this.Kickin' is better
                                                                            annual contest TEXAS A & M UNIVERSITY 2007 ,the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term "political correctness"(2007 term) winner was:
                                                                            "Political correctness is a doctrine,fostered by a delusional,illogical minority,and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media,which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to up a turd by the clean end."

                                                                        2. When my husband makes Brunswick stew for our suburban Westchester NY neighbors, he always tells people (who love it by the by) that he is using varmint, which, theoretically, should be squirrel. He uses quail (squirrel isn't generally available in Westchester) and always leaves a couple of teeny tiny bones in, just to freak people out....

                                                                          1. I've had squirrel before and it was darn tasty. Almost a sweet type of meat. I liked it, but it didn't have a whole lot of meat. I don't understand the aversion to eating squirrel.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                                              It's similar to the Bambi syndrome.
                                                                              Jerked squirrel used to be a favorite snack. Haven't seen any in ages though.

                                                                            2. I found them pretty tasty when they showed up at the wild game dinner. I wasn't going to go so far as to pop open the skulls and eat the brains, though that was an option. I liked the racoon too, but no one showed up with any possum.

                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                              1. re: thinks too much

                                                                                I have a cousin who is a cattle rancher and has had every kind of wild game you could think of. The only thing he says he would not ever want to try again is possum. I can't remember exactly what he said made it so bad, but the woman who prepared it was a master at cooking wild game, and even she couldn't make it taste very good.

                                                                                1. re: danhole

                                                                                  I always heard that opposum was especially greasy and gamey. Probably one of the first animals to drop off the menu in rural America....

                                                                                  1. re: uptown jimmy

                                                                                    I believe that is what he said, that is was terribly greasy no matter what you tried. I have a very old cookbook that covers most game, but not possum!

                                                                                  2. re: danhole

                                                                                    The man who was holding forth on the glories of possum did say that you shouldn't shoot them. Instead, you should trap them and feed them on corn for a week to get the gamy flavor out and sweeten them up.

                                                                                    1. re: thinks too much

                                                                                      Exactly! Works great with wild urban snails too....!

                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                        Haha... I have a bit of a slug problem in my apartment - every few weeks I'll find one on the kitchen counter first thing in the morning. I'm not too squeamish about them, just pick 'em up with a napkin and toss. Then I noticed the food grade snail shells in the international aisle at Kroger. I do enjoy escargot :)

                                                                                        1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                          To mpjmph: Re slugs: 1) I have wondered why we don't eat them, say on lettuce with a nice vinaigrette. You go first. 2) Have never heard of slugs as an indoor pest but I can say what works in the garden. Take plastic margarine tubs, cut a hole in the middle of the top, and fill 2/3 full with beer. Slugs can't resist beer so they will crawl in the hole an guzzle but then they can't get out. We used to find over a hundred slugs drowned in beer after a single night,. However, there is a risk. We had a racoon come into our yard and, finding all those tubs full of beer and slugs, figured it was a party and we had provided both food and drink. So he partook of all and got roaring drunk, started staggering around the terrace and bumping into furniture. We woke up startled, thinking we had home invaders.

                                                                                      2. re: thinks too much

                                                                                        Oh, yeah. I had heard about that and forgotten it. I've known folks who did that, way back in the day.

                                                                                        1. re: uptown jimmy

                                                                                          The majority of "garden snails" in southern California came over from Grance around the turn of the last century. Stowaways! Tons of French grape vines were imported to graft onto pest ridded vines but they forgot to shake the snails loose before loading the boat.

                                                                                          Fresh snails are fabulous! And then it finally dawns on you they may not be as "free" as you think. They were munching away on my dichondra lawn, my Australian tree ferns, my bouganvillia, camillias, nasturtiums, roses, "wild" strawberries, honeysuckle... I finally figured out they were cosing something like $20.00 a pound plus cornmeal. But oh, soooooo good! '-)

                                                                                  3. I shared this site w/ my rural, coastal Maine High School students.
                                                                                    We had a good laugh. And now I get handed plastic shopping bags w/ 2 or 3 gutted squirrels, and frozen packs of moose meat (kinda like trying to get rid of zuchinis in the summer.). I leave school and immediately go grouse or fresh water duck or turkey hunting.
                                                                                    ps I'm trading my honking big ham sandwiches for my students' lobster rolls. We're both happy.
                                                                                    Carpe squirrllum

                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                      quick question about hunting squirrel out of curiosity: do you have to be careful about where you hunt in case they've been eating garbage around human civilization? (i mean, really, COULD people eat central park squirrels who live off mcdonald's french fries?)

                                                                                      1. re: cimui

                                                                                        It has been said that pigs have enough energy in their fat to cook themselves. Maybe the same is true for Central Park squirrels? I can see the next Gore greenspeak: :"supersize my McSquirrel"

                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                          hah. food dorks like me would proceed to drool. i bet a mcsquirrel would be so much better than anything on the mcdonald's menu, now.

                                                                                        2. re: cimui

                                                                                          You men fois de gras de squirrel? My kinda place. Just don't eat the brains.

                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                            i was really looking forward to the brains. why not?

                                                                                            1. re: cimui

                                                                                              Jacob here cannot remember but has a Kruetsfeeling.

                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                i was going to joke about them having mad squirrel diseases, but it looks like that's not far from the truth!


                                                                                                1. re: cimui

                                                                                                  That was a fascinating article! Thanks for posting that Cimui!

                                                                                                  I am not usually squeamish about food, but I must admit, brain is just falling further and further down the list of foods I'd eat. I don't particularly like the texture of brain anyways. So I guess I'd fall into the squirrel meat-eating camp.

                                                                                                  1. re: cimui

                                                                                                    Yeah, but... The article is 11 years old, and there have now been confirmed cases of of Kreutzeld Jakob (mad animal, take your pick) in the U.S., including among wild deer.

                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                      Shhhh! And oh, my Texas,beef too! How unAmerican!

                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                        oh, didn't notice someone else had mentioned it, lol now i feel stupid

                                                                                                  2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                    ahhhh kruetzfelt-jacob syndrome! I have nightmares about that!!

                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                              A show with Gordon Ramsay, running the F word Restaurant and delving into different food "issues" - as well as feeding celebrities and other media people in London - all the while gleaning information from them.

                                                                                              F stands for Food, by the way.

                                                                                              The restaurant in the show is actually quite nightmarish if you ask me. But it's my love Gordon, so I watch

                                                                                            2. I used to eat squirrel in burgoo, and found it quite tasty. These days, however, I've been feeding nuts to Nadine, my maimed squirrel friend for 3 years. I'm sure she would be quite tasty, given her diet, but I can't imagine being able to eat squirrel again. Nadine actually comes up to the breakfast room door and knocks while I'm drinking my morning coffee. No way am I going to eat her and her kin.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                Never eat an animal you've named, and never name an animal you're going to eat.

                                                                                                Growing up, our brood-stock rabbits were Fluffy and Thumper and whatever else my brothers and I could come up with. Their offspring were just called dinner.

                                                                                              2. too much bone to meat ratio for me. I hate nibbling off those tiny bones!

                                                                                                1. Critters that are tasty and therefore are preyed upon - squirrels, rabbits, and quail come to mind - are also quite prolific at replenishing the less fortunate of their lot.

                                                                                                  1. If I were served squirrel I would eat it. The squirrels around me seem to eat acorns and the bird seed out of my bird feeder, so I bet they are tasty.

                                                                                                    1. I had never had squirrel and mentioned that to Jackp. A week or so later I came home from work to find a pair of long frog-leggish things soaking in a bowl of salt water on the kitchen counter. We sauteed them and then cooked them very slowly to make a ragu and you know what? They were boring. Chicken thighs have more flavor and are more tender.

                                                                                                      On the other hand: my husband's step-mother in Terre Haute, Indiana tells a wonderful story: several million years ago she had a visitor from Manhattan and took her to the home of one of the local judges for a delicious dinner. This well-traveled guest was delighted by the entree. Would it be okay for her to have seconds of the chicken, she asked. Sure, the host replied - but you should know that it's actually squirrel.

                                                                                                      I must note that the guest was not remotely intimidated - she filled her plate again.

                                                                                                      1. If offered, I'll try it. I'll try anything once, twice sometimes to be sure I don't like it.

                                                                                                        Does anybody remember that scene in "Coal Miner's Daughter" where Patsy Kline tells Lorretta Lynn that she'll never eat squirrel meat again and Loretta is shocked because she loves squirrel meat?

                                                                                                          1. sure I would try it, and may have already had it in some Burgoo I have eaten.

                                                                                                            1. HELL YES! as a matter of fact, I'd choose 'em over nastyass-making-me-want-to-vomit supermarket meat any given day.

                                                                                                              1. Never tried it yet, but I would at least once.

                                                                                                                After that, it would be a matter of whether I liked it enough to compensate for the difficulty of finding and preparing it.

                                                                                                                1. sure, I'd try it. why not? I love rabbit, roo, emu, ostrich. What's wrong with squirrel?

                                                                                                                  I had opossum once, but found it too greasy to eat again.

                                                                                                                  1. Grey squirrels are a pest and have already had significant impact on the habitat of the reds. I think they should be regarded as fair game and I'd certainly try it.

                                                                                                                    I think it will become more commonly available as publicity about them being edible grows. As the OP notes, Gordon did a piece on the "F Word" and, only last week, Hugh did one on "River Cottage Autumn". I'd assumed the way to get them would be by shooting so I was surprised that Hugh trapped them and then despatched them with a quick blow to the head with a big piece of wood.

                                                                                                                    I saw them on sale for the first time yesterday at Wirral Farmers Market but I suspect they are being priced expensively as "niche food", rather than something more reasonable. They looked like smallish rabbits.

                                                                                                                    For those who didnt catch the show, Hugh cooked the squirrel as a very rich ragout for a couple of hours and then stripped the meat from the bones. The meat then went back into the sauce to go with pasta (I think polenta would work as well). It looked like those really tasty dark, rich boar, horse or donkey sauces you often get in Northern Italy.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                      A solitary red squirrel wintered in the woods adjacent to my house (20 miles from Boston) several years ago. I'd say he was the one having the impact - the mighty mite chased off the grays and was able to get through the 1" wire mesh that had protected the inner plexiglas tubes of an expensive feeder for a decade - he completely ruined it before I realized what was happening, also gnawing the wooden porch uprights. I was relieved when he disappeared - maybe he choked on plexiglas! That's not to say that the grays aren't into plunder and destruction too...I put food out for them on a sheltered table but they still ruin a feeder or two just for fun.

                                                                                                                      Link to sidesplitting squirrel story - it starts with horses, keep reading:

                                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                        This little two part youtube video of squirrels has made the rounds, so you may well have seen it before. For those who haven't its worth the minute and 53 seconds to see the acrobatic furry little thieves in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWU0bf...

                                                                                                                    2. You folks have no idea... :-) :-) :-)

                                                                                                                      I'm up to squirrel kill #66 in my backyard. I've been shooting them with a bb gun/pellet gun out my kitchen window since late February and feeding them to my pet fox. OK it's not really my pet but it does come by at night and take them off for me. It's a win-win kind of situation. Now that Fall is here, it's harvest time! Funny enough, I've not been able to get one in the past couple of weeks... patience... ;-)

                                                                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: HaagenDazs

                                                                                                                        >>>Now that Fall is here, it's harvest time! Funny enough, I've not been able to get one in the past couple of weeks... patience... ;-)

                                                                                                                        Maybe it is negative population growth. When do you harvest the fox?

                                                                                                                        1. re: jlawrence01

                                                                                                                          There are squirrels running around all over the place here still, I've just not been able to spot one at the right time and the right distance - I have a $45 bb gun from Walmart... it works but only real reliable within 15 yards or so.

                                                                                                                          Poor fox! In all seriousness though, people are so scared of foxes when in fact they are wonderful creatures to have around. They simply cannot attack household pets... unless you let your guinea pig run free in the backyard. Foxes are very small. They have worked their way into the natural environment (they are an introduced species) but they help take up some of the slack left by the lack of coyotes. A red fox is a tiny, tiny animal. The body of the fox is no bigger than a large house cat. It has longer legs so its taller and it's beautiful bushy tail makes it longer, but it's really small. As a reference, I included this blurry photo. You can tell from the size of the squirrel (no it's not a giant squirrel) that the fox is small. Enjoy and happy Fall hunting everyone. ;-)

                                                                                                                          1. re: HaagenDazs

                                                                                                                            "A red fox is a tiny, tiny animal"

                                                                                                                            Maybe where you are. But where I am an adult red fox stands as tall as medium sized dog - say 500mm to the top of its body. Increasingly it's an urban animal, migrating into towns along railway lines, and would definately be a threat to pets kept outdoors (or, say, smallholders' poultry stocks).

                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                              Exactly. The proverbial fox in the hen house!

                                                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                MMRuth - do you own any hens? Didn't think so... :-) They will certainly attack chickens but I can almost guarantee you that most of the posters here don't have to fend off foxes in their chicken houses.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                Oh come on... ;-) I did say it was TALLER than a house cat. You go take a picture of your fox and then we'll compare. I'm certain that there are outliers but I'd be willing to guess that most foxes are in the 10 to 15 lb range. Sure - that's a big house cat but I can assure you that most household pets are safe. You can prove me wrong, but I want proof. Tell me a story that has happened to you personally and I'll believe it. Of course this is all in good fun, but my point is that many people have this view of foxes as huge, horrible blood sucking monsters.

                                                                                                                                1. re: HaagenDazs

                                                                                                                                  Fox (foxes?) are very small, no bigger than a large housecat, but with long legs. At least the ones I've seen. Beautiful animals. But I wouldn't want one near my henhouse, if I had one.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: HaagenDazs

                                                                                                                                    There's more than one species of fox, you know, including some native species. Your foxes may be as you describe, but that's not *all* foxes.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                      That is very true, good point. I'm talking about the red fox here in the US. I'm thinking that the red fox is an introduced species (introduced for hunting) but now I'm thinking it might be native. Of course the info is online somewhere.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: HaagenDazs

                                                                                                                                        Of course! :-) http://www.thefoxwebsite.org/populati...

                                                                                                                                        "There are six species of foxes in North America: arctic fox, grey fox, kit fox, island fox, swift fox and red fox."
                                                                                                                                        "Recent genetic studies, as yet unpublished, have suggested that this post-European expansion of red foxes in the United States was due to the spread of native foxes southward from Canada, following the clearing of forests for agriculture, changes in the predator community, and other major habitat changes in the region. It seems that the introduced European foxes made at best only a minor contribution to the fox population seen in mainland North America today."

                                                                                                                                        1. re: HaagenDazs

                                                                                                                                          "I'm talking about the red fox here in the US."

                                                                                                                                          Whereas I wasn't.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: HaagenDazs

                                                                                                                                    A little late on this reply...page 8 of 'my chow'...

                                                                                                                                    I agree, Haagen, all the red fox I've seen are the size of cats. I think their stature is heightened because of their reputed cunning more than anything else.
                                                                                                                                    Yes, they do love to raid coops, but my brother-in-law has had more chickens killed by 'pet' dogs than fox. The dogs simply kill as many as they can leaving the birds behind. The fox will kill one at a time, sneak off and eat.

                                                                                                                                    danhole, I'm genuinely happy that my distress made for a few chuckles...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                      Oh I forgot, the real reason for the reply...
                                                                                                                                      Haagen, I liked that pict of the fox and the squirrel...next time use the red-eye reduction feature! Haha!

                                                                                                                                1. REVENGE OF THE SQUIRREL! After my mom's death in NJ, I wanted to drive her old SAAB the 500 mi.back to Maine. I checked all the fluid level and tire pressure before starting out. I went 55 mi. and the engine overheated and I had lost 2 quarts of oil! I turned around, changed the oil, could find nothing wrong and started out again to Maine. I checked the oil again after returning. After 550 mi., not a drop of oil lost. As an amateur mechanic I was puzzled and so was my mechanic and friend. I took the car to the mechanic for a new muffler and air cleaner. When I returned to pick up the car he shook the old muffler and it made a rattling sound. Mom's house was surrounded by huge oak trees, but the car was garage kept. Both the muffler and air cleaner were packed with acorns! The squirrels used the car as a storage bin. The back pressure from the blocked muffler was blowing the oil out of the engine until the acorns were burned out by the heat of the exhaust!
                                                                                                                                  The squirrels have now returned to our bird feeders. Revenge of the Passadumbkeg Round II.

                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                    Have a friend,used to think squirrels were cute.Until one day the auto sounded like a paint mixer on steroids.Looked and looked,packed all around the manifold were peanuts
                                                                                                                                    now roasted.All thanks to a neighbor that fed the little buggers.
                                                                                                                                    Revenge seems elusive here.We have a small deck/balcony.The summer half of our dining room,habituated by our four legged gang year round.After reducing them by 21.
                                                                                                                                    One was ?brazen/stupid and wound up divided 50/50 by Jack Russel's rats ass Terrier
                                                                                                                                    and a Siamese cat.That was Saturday.I just now heard a #*!*# ,another one down.Same
                                                                                                                                    two did the deed,Rugby & Rasputin

                                                                                                                                    1. re: lcool

                                                                                                                                      Our cat leaves headless red squirrels on our doorstep. The lab is too dumb.

                                                                                                                                      ps acorns on the manifold too. I saw them before leaving, but thought no further.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                        Interesting that your cat leaves the headless squirrel... my childhood cat used to eat everything but the head, which she left neatly on the back porch every evening...

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                      Always check a gift SAAB up the bung-hole before starting off!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                        Yeh, a real SAAB story. Runs great. Have had 900's for over twenty years.

                                                                                                                                        When I had a Fiat 128, we had to feed the squirrel in the engine compartment to get it to go.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                        I just read that. Kind of curious about the taste. Kind of worried about diseases.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                          kind of turned off by the comments about "greasy texture," or as it was also described, "slightly oily rabbit."

                                                                                                                                          no thanks.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                            Is there such a thing as Kobe squirrels? Or Wagyu squirrels?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                              Have you ever tried to catch a squirrel much less massage one with beer?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                Yea! and they're nasty drunks, too!

                                                                                                                                      2. Newp. Cos they don't grow in dem here parts.

                                                                                                                                        Aiten possum, but.

                                                                                                                                        Tastes like rabbit marinated in mouthwash.