Watched "The Roadkill Chef" last night, billed by BBC Three as "Eccentric roadkill connoisseur Fergus Drennan tries to change the eating habits of the people in the town of Sandwich in Kent by throwing the community a roadkill feast". Sandwich is reasonably local to us, but we'd have watched an interesting food programme like this anyway. Well I would, and I made the wife site through it too. The idea is clearly a little unpalatable to anyone who wouldn't normally pick up and eat dead things by the side of the road, but from an environmental point of view, it's quite sound. If you get to something quickly enough, what's the difference really between eating something that's been shot, throttled, electrocuted, or hit by a car? If you're going to eat meat, and are concerned about animal welfare, at least you know these little fellers have had a natural life. Cleaning and cooking (yes, he didn't just chow down on still warm guts by the side of the road) is going to kill the bacteria and things anyway.
I'm not quite ready to sign up though, I wasn't entirely convinced by the man, his methods, his results, or the programme making. First and foremost, Fergus looked a bit mad. I'm sure he's a nice chap, and he was very enthusiastic, but I got the feeling his enthusiasm for his topic might override everything else. I'm guilty at times of trying to be too efficient at times, using up leftovers, keeping food past it's sell by date etc, but I think I would not be quite so uncautious as he. It could be that everyone's too cautious with food, and he truly is a visionary, but as the visiting meat inspector might well have said "you might serve a million tasty squirrel souffles or hedgehog hotpots, but if just one person catches TB from your badger cutlets, that's all people will remember". Hmm, actually I think possibly you're as likely to catch TB from a cow as from a badger, so take that with a pinch of botulism. SALT, take that with a pinch of salt.
Whether Fergus was concerned or not, or it was just for the cameras, badger was off the menu for the final feast. I'm not sure about how the feast turned out, or how this was presented by the programme. They took over a gastropub in Sandwich to feed the locals, but then seemed to give people an option once they'd arrived - have the normal three course menu, or select from a buffet of wild food bits. Why did they not fill the place with people who were willing to eat the wild food? Could they not? Why was the wild food served up buffet style, and not in the same manner as the regular menu? Was there not enough? The people of Sandwich didn't seem that adventurous1, but lord didn't they look rough too? I always thought Sandwich was a nice little village, but I would be put off ever going there again. Also did he really get as enthusiastic a reception at the school as the programme made it look? This was far better than Jamie Oliver did when he fed the kids things like apples and potatoes...
In conclusion, it's a great idea, we will go mushroom hunting again when the conditions are right, and I will learn to do something with the abundance of chestnuts we find, but I'm not sure the show was that convincing.
Ooh, not written this much on one subject for a while. Further reading: Wild Food, Food For Free, The Original Roadkill Cookbook, and the books of Carl Hiassen. There's a recurring character who's an exponent of this cuisine.
Paul Clarke's blog - I live in Hythe near Folkestone. Wed to Clare + dad to two, I am a full-stack web developr, and I do js / nodejs, some ruby, other languages ect ect. I like pubbing, parkrun, eating, home automation + other diy stuff, history, family tree stuff, Television, squirrels, pirates, lego, and TIME TRAVEL.