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  • Eating Roadkill September 6, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary , trackback

    Beachcombing’s village of Little Snoring is on a busy road and Beachcombing has long learnt to avert his eyes as various poor mammals appear inert before him on the tarmac. But knowing the infinite ingenuity of his fellow human-beings Beachcombing was only partly surprised to learn last week that there is a literature dedicated to the subject.

    Roger M. Knutson’s Flattened Fauna: A Field Guide to Common Animals of Roads, Streets, and Highways (1987) did catch his attention. Not least because on the outskirts of fauna-poor Little Snoring it is just a question of whether we are dealing with a squashed cat or a squashed hedgehog. However, what really took even Beachcombing’s breath away were the books dedicated to Road-kill cuisine.

    Here we are truly at the darker edges of contemporary popular culture and the historian goes at his own risk.

    Richard Marcou, How to Cook Roadkill: Gourmet Cooking (1987)


    Bruce Carlson, Iowa’s Roadkill Cookbook (1990)


    Buck Peterson, The Original Road Kill Cookbook (1987)


    Jeff Eberbaugh, Gourmet Style Road Kill Cooking and Other Fine Recipes (1991)


    Charles G Irion, Roadkill Cooking for Campers (2009)

    Beachcombing thought that the US had perhaps cornered this particularly market. However, he had not reckoned with Fergus Drennan in the UK.

    Fergus is a strange kind of vegetarian chef in as much as he will not eat animals raised for slaughter. But animls killed on the road do not fall into that loathsome category. ‘One of the few things that I tend to avoid are cats and dogs. In theory, I’d have no problem with eating them. But they’ve always got name tags on their collars, and since I have two cats, it’s a step too far.’

    Beachcombing understands.

    Fergus – click the link for his excellent website – says that roadkill only constitutes 1-5% of his diet and sometimes he can go for months at a time without eating stuff peeled off the tarmac. ‘No tortoises or toads on the menu as of late; and yet, after not seeing any serviceable roadkill for months – since 25th Dec 08 to be precise, last week I broke my vegan wild food challenge – a month that became 40 days, in a veritable torrent and macabre freshet of roadside flesh and blood.’ In short, Fergus found some pheasants that had been murdered on her Majesty’s highways.

    Beachcombing has every intention of building up a small road kill cuisine bibliography, not because he is particularly road-kill hungry but because he wants to engineer an argument with his university’s infinitely wind-upable librarian (‘how can students hope to understand the mechanics of medieval foraging if you…’ etc etc). Keep the titles rolling in then please…: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com