Image credit: Drew Avery, used under Creative Commons license.
From beautiful video of eating roadkill in Minnesota to discussion over whether vegans can enjoy meat from roadkill, the topic of whether and how to digest animals killed on our roads is a surprisingly common one here on TreeHugger. We've even seen crazily expensive beer served in a dead squirrel. But one guy seems to be taking the idea of eating roadkill to extreme measures. I mean, would you eat "Two Owl Bolognese"?I was perusing through The Guardian's excellent series of articles entitled "Experience", when I came across the following title: Experience: I Eat Roadkill. I figured this would be another story about someone who occasionally harvests a dead rabbit or deer to supplement his or her dinner table, but this guy is a little more committed than that.
Eating Fox, Rabbit, Badger and Hedgehog
Jonathan McGowan, who was brought up next to a farm in Dorset, recounts how he started exploring nature through the dead animals he found in the road as a child. He took up taxidermy, and he secretly started cooking up some of his finds. Having left home, what was a secret treat became a habit. And his tastes have become quite broad over the years:
Rabbit is actually quite bland. Fox is far tastier; there's never any fat on it, and it's subtle, with a lovely texture, firm but soft. It's much more versatile than beef, and has a salty, mineral taste rather like gammon. Frogs and toads taste like chicken and are great in stir-fries. Rat, which is nice and salty like pork, is good in a stir-fry, too - I'll throw in celery, onion, peppers and, in autumn, wild mushrooms I've collected. Badger is not nice and hedgehog is hideous.
Eating Roadkill Versus Factory Farms
Perhaps unsurprisingly, McGowan relates that he has received a broad range of responses from the curious, to the disgusted, to the outraged. (Apparently some people believe it to be cruel to eat already-dead animals.) But as McGowan points out, eating roadkill is a darned-site more humane than eating factory farmed meat. In fact, he says, he'd be vegetarian if it wasn't for roadkill.
Perhaps the most interesting factor of all, however, is what happens when he invites folks over to dinner. Usually he tells people what they're going to eat, but he does share the fact that one time he failed to inform his guests what was on the menu:
I usually let people know what's going in to a dish, but I did once serve a spaghetti bolognese at a dinner party and forgot to say what was in it. After we finished, there was a row about whether it was venison or pheasant. When I revealed it was two-owl bolognese - part tawny, part barn - a silence fell across the room. For a moment everyone looked quite shocked, then someone broke the silence. "That was delicious," he said. "And I'm glad the owls were put to good use." I couldn't agree more.
I must say I am with McGowan in spirit. But I'm not sure I'd have the stomach for owl bolognese, however sustainably sourced it may be.