Eating Marsh Rabbit

I just told my brother Les that I was going to write about eating squab. He said, “Oh, that sounds so much better than saying you ate DOVES, doesn’t it?” I said, “Squab is also pigeon.” He answered, “That’s even worse!” Being the youngest in the family, Les was not as exposed to our wide array of “epicurean delights” as the older ones were.

Growing up poor, my mother would fix any wild game brought home except opossum or raccoon. I think it was because opossums were so disgusting and we had raccoons as pets. I loved quail, pheasant, rabbit, and especially turtle. I still like “offal”: gizzards, livers, tongue, heart, kidneys, lungs, tripe, and brains (yes, I admit that I’ve eaten brains!). Gerald grimaces when I mention these delicacies; I’ve told him it’s hard for me to believe that he grew up on a farm and had not had these rare treats! I said, “If I say I love “pate de foie gras”, that’ll be OK, rather than goose liver!” I like braunschweiger (liverwurst) but I cannot tolerate blood pudding, head cheese or souse!

As kids, we ate ground hog and muskrat, but Mother insisted we say “marsh rabbit” as that euphemism sounded so much better. I never tasted “mountain oysters”; Mother said she was tricked into eating them once and although they were delicious, she would NOT have eaten them if she’d known what they were.

The derivation of the saying “To eat humble pie”, which means to apologize and face humiliation, is from the Old English word “umbles” which was the term for offal from deer and was considered “humble”.

For my birthday this year, I’ve expressed a desire to go to L’Antibes, the French restaurant in Columbus. Yes, and I’m going to feast on SWEETBREADS because I have never tasted sweetbreads!

3 thoughts on “Eating Marsh Rabbit”

  1. Oh Yeah! Turtle, rabbit, pheasant, quail and dove were a mainstay in my family especially with my Uncle Harold and Lew. Good eating too!

  2. When I was a kid growing up in Bourneville we had a Turtle Feed every year. Over the year, when anyone caught a turtle fishing or on their trot line, they’d give it to the local gas station owner who also happened to be the local turtle chef. Anyway, he’d collect all the turtles for the once-a-year party held in the parking lot by the gas station. My favorite was the Spicy Turtle Soup, in which I’d always add a touch of Worcestershire Sauce. Good memories.

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