Blood on the tracks

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Blood on the tracks

Jan
172007
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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 adventurous*, 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...

*I say the people of Sandwich were not adventurous, but I'd not have eaten anything he made, my special needs, though interestingly enough Fergus calls himself a vegetarian too. I don't think vegetarian's right, that's just someone who does not eat meat, but maybe it would be right for a vegan to eat road kill. Only maybe. Not me.

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.

In other TV food show news, Chalky has died, that's Rick Stein's dog. Don't leave the little canine corpse around near Fergus Drennan.
TweetComment / reply

RE: Blood on the tracks

first thing I thought of when I saw the trailer for this was - hey it's Skink! sounds like he's not far from the mark.

from http://www.carlhiaasen.com
"Skink, who first appears in Double Whammy, the bass-fishing novel, was conceived as sort of a wild hermit who avenges crimes against Nature. He needed an interesting background so I decided to make him a former governor of Florida, an honest guy who went mad trying to cope with the corruption all around him. One day, in the middle of his term of office, he suddenly bolts from the governor's mansion -- disappears into the woods, where he lives off roadkill and calls himself "Skink."

Originally, he was supposed to be sort of a walk-on character. I didn't imagine keeping him around for more than a couple of chapters, but then I found myself liking him tremendously. In a way, he became the moral compass of Double Whammy. Now, whenever his services are needed in another novel, I bring him out of the mangroves to raise hell. I love him because he hasn't mellowed one bit."
17 Jan TweetComment / reply

There is another UK Skink doing the rounds

This from a press release from January last year:

LONDON: It needs a brave soul and a strong stomach to have dinner with Arthur Boyt.

For he is a connoisseur of roadkill flesh, and among the dishes served in his kitchen are casseroles made from squashed badger, hedgehog, otter, rat, rabbit or pheasant.

And his recipes may soon gain a wider following, because he hopes to publish a roadkill cookery book.

Mr Boyt, 66, who used to work in the fire protection business, has tucked into a labrador - just like a nice piece of lamb - two lurchers (hunting dogs), cats and a great horseshoe bat, not to mention squirrels, foxes, mice, deer and pigeon. He even brought a dead porcupine back from holiday in Canada. He has a weasel in the freezer but thinks it is too smelly to eat, and he has just picked up a barn owl he is keen to taste.

But his favourite snack is badger sandwich. He is partial to the badger head, which he says includes four distinctive tastes: the jaw muscles, salivary glands, tongue and brains.


Maybe the two of them will meet up and fight to see who is king of the UK roadkill - the loser gets run over and eaten, obviously.
17 Jan TweetComment / reply

Paul Clarke's - I live and work in Hythe near Folkestone, Kent. married to Clare and father to two, I am a software engineer, and I do mostly javascript, Node, python, ruby, and php. I like pubs, restaurants, home automation and other diy jiggery-pokery, history, genealogy, TV, popbitch, squirrels, pirates ☠, lego, and time travel.

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