Here is a thought provoking article in the NYT from earlier in the week. The idea of the event, or the fact that it occurred at all doesn’t surprise me. Frankly, the only shocker was the rogue-ish circumstances under which it was held and the low turnout. Clearly you might have guessed where I am going with this? After all, my track record with possum, raccoon, otter and the like is well publicized. No one eating small game should do so hidden away in the shadows or attending secretive dinners, nor should they miss the opportunity to state the obvious.
The degree to which we eat a broader and more inclusive diet is the degree to which we support sustainability and eco-culinary stewardship of our planet. Every time we eat a meal of rabbit, or mackerel, or a whole grain salad for that matter, is one less time we support Big Ag and the factory farms and commodity meat producers that have destroyed our food system and made it unsafe for all of us. This coming week you will see an amazing show we shot in Madagascar. Whenever I am in a country this far off the grid I eat a diet far removed from the one we eat here at home. Fruit and grains and, if we are lucky, an egg (farm fresh!) for breakfast. Small fish and some grain, usually rice at lunch, and some meat for dinner, typically goat or in Madagascar, zebu, a humpbacked cow that is pretty gamey. And yes, everywhere we went we had small fish that are considered unreasonable to eat in our country because they are small or bony or both. We ate eel, and giraffe beetles and zebu offal and all sorts of fantastic foods. Not for a minute would I consider insisting that we should eat like that all the time, but I would insist that at least once a week you get off the pork/beef/chicken/shrimp/halibut/salmon/tuna train that you are on and eat something that is more far afield. Or go meatless on Mondays like many of us are doing– not only for our waistlines benefit, but in support of local small farms and alternative protein consumption. The easiest way to close the feedlots and fecal swamps that masquerade as food sources in our country is to not support them as much with your hard earned dollars.
For that, I applaud everything that Mr. Fornal, AKA Baron Ambrosia, stands for. And yes, for the record muskrat is superb, especially seared and served with small corn cakes, caramelized pears and sturdy mustard.