In the older of my two copies of Joy of Cooking, there seems to be a holdout to a bygone era. The older edition was printed in 1985, but it seems as though many of the recipes were developed and deemed significant during a time when people relied a bit more than is currently necessary on particular types of wild game. I only say this because, tell me, when was the last time you had a hankering to blanch and roast one of these fine fellows?
(Note the instructions on how to fatten up one’s opossum by feeding it milk and cereals for 10 days prior to cooking it, as though you are the dutiful game-eating cousin of that witch in Hansel and Gretel.)
Still, if porcupine’s not your bag, might I suggest another item?
Of course, if you are feeling a bit less peckish, it might be recommend that you prepare something a bit smaller. You know, for a light lunch or afternoon snack.
That ought to hit the spot nicely. I don’t know about you, but I find the accompanying menu suggestion incredibly helpful. You wouldn’t want to serve your braised muskrat with a clashing side dish. That would just be embarrassing. But what’s that you say? Muskrat not fulfilling your needs? Too big, you say? Then don’t hesitate to try out one of these.
And don’t worry if you are unsure about how one might go about preparing such an animal for eventual mealtime delight. Joy of Cooking has totally got your back on that one.
Note the helpful warning to wear gloves (and, one can ascertain, very heavy boots) while skinning your squirrel, lest you contract tularemia, a terrible infectious disease caused by highly virulent bacterium found in wild rodents. One can only assume that, once sufficiently cooked, the rodent in question will be deemed no longer in possession of the hideous pathogen. Fingers crossed!
To be fair, there are some recipes in this section of the book (the Wild Game section, if you are curious) that fall a bit more on the side of normal.
While I would never admit as much to my son, devotee of all things rabbit related, I have actually tasted rabbit before, though I cannot recall whether I enjoyed it or not. And though I did not prepare the rabbit in question, I can rest assured that, were I ever to find myself struck with that particular need (or the need to relieve a rabbit of its sweater while it hung upside down on a trapeze), Joy of Cooking, circa 1985, will most definitely have my interests in mind.
Bonus question: Does anyone else find it hilarious that the recipes for these particular items never deviate from the standard Joy of Cooking format? I find it endlessly pleasing that the recipe for raccoon indicates that, in order to cook raccoon, you will need:
And in order to cook muskrat, the ingredients list commands that you procure:
Thanks, Joy of Cooking. Utterly efficient to the end.
P.S. Yeah. I totally filed this post in the Meat category.