Imagine me saying "Roaches & Squirrel" in the accent of Boris Badenov from the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show. If I could do that accent that is which I can't but that is beside the point.
It's Tuesday. It's random. Visit Stacy and gang for other randomers.
Last night something hit the window while we were watching TV. We turned around to see what it was but nothing was there. I speculated that it was a bird (if it was it had to be stupid or blind one because my sliding glass door is filthy. Yes, I'll wash it soon or maybe I'll wait until it cools down...in like November). JR suggested that it was one of those giant tree roaches. He's probably right. Some of those bugs are massive.
Speaking of roaches. A very long time ago I moved into this apartment in LA that was, dare I say it, bijou without the elegance, more like with a dash of grimy. Well, I got to work cleaning it up and evicting the current tenants, the roaches. These were not your ordinary roaches. These didn't run and hide when they found themselves facing a can of Raid. No these roaches would stare at you with what I was sure was a "are you talkin' to me" look on their faces. I mentioned this to a friend of mine one day. His response was; "oh that's nothing. The ones in New York speak three languages and roll drunks in the street for loose change". 30 years later and I still haven't braved The Big Apple. This probably isn't the reason but one never knows.
You know all those time travel books and movies? What they never really get into is what people ate back then. Because I'm weird this bothers me (and yes, this is something I tend to email writers about if they get it wrong. So if you are a writer; get it right or you'll hear from me!)
But let's just imagine that we were in a Nashville restaurant on April 14, 1861.
First off, restaurants were not something that you went to in the evenings to grab a bite to eat because you didn't feel up to cooking (what? You don't do that?) or celebrating an important event. Usually you only went to a restaurant because you were staying at the hotel that it was attached to or your train was at a stop and you had a dinner break. You paid one set price and you received one food item from every section of the menu. This is called the Ordinary or Bord and is just one of the interesting cultural and societal quirks about restaurants during the mid-19th century but I think mid-19th century dining quirks will be a post for another time.
Second off, April 14, 1861 was two days after the South fired on Ft. Sumter. What the hell are you thinking being in Nashville at this time? Don't you know that war was breaking out? Plus, food in the Southern states is going to become scarce so get the hell out!
Sorry, back to the menu.
There are several things I won't be eating off this menu and you can put Squirrel Pie at the top of the list. But if you are not like me and need to know how you would prepare your squirrel...
Gray squirrels are the preferred ones (I would also suggest that you don't use fresh roadkill squirrel. From what I hear they are a bit gritty not to mention high in cholesterol (what movie is that from?)); red squirrels are small and quite gamey in flavor. There are, proverbially many way to skin a squirrel, but some hunters claim the following one is the quickest and cleanest. It needs a sharp knife (so go out and grab pa's huntin' knife).
To skin, cut the tail bone through from beneath, but take care not to cut through the skin of the tail. Hold the tail as shown on the left (by all means follow the graphic below, eeeewwwww) and than cut the skin the width of the back, as shown in the dotted lines. Turn the squirrel over on its back and step on the base of the tail. Hold the hind legs in one hand and pull steadily and slowly as shown in the center sketch, until the skin has worked itself over the front legs and head. While holding the squirrel in the same position, pull the remaining skin from the hind legs. Proceed then as for rabbit, cutting off the head and the feet and removing the internal organs, plus two small glands found in the small of the back and under each foreleg, between the ribs and the shoulders.
Stuff and roast squirrels as for pigeons, barding (Blogger, suggesting that barfing is the correct word instead of barding, that may be how I feel about this procedure but barding is the correct word. According to the Reluctant Gourmet; "bard To tie some type of fat (bacon or fatback) around what you are cooking to prevent it from drying out while roasting. Often used with fowl or extremely lean meats, barding bastes the meat while it is cooking, thus keeping it moist.") them, or use them in Brunswick stew or prepare as for braised chicken or bake in a pie. (from pages 453-454 of the Joy of Cooking. Emphasis and snark are my own)
Wow! this post went in a totally different direction than I had anticipated. Sort of like my paintings. Some days are just like that I guess.
Did we all learn something today? I know I did.