I read an article on the NPR.org Food page – From Grille To Grill: When Roadkill Is Good Enough For Dinner
It is an interesting and funny article and reminded me of a quote that I think is attributed to the late Don Tyson of Tyson Foods in Springdale, Arkansas. The quote is “You can tell the economic times of Northwest Arkansas by the number of dead turkeys on the road. Lots of birds – good times. Few birds – hard times.”
Now you see in Northwest Arkansas, if you had a few acres of land, you could put up chicken or turkey houses and raise poultry for the many companies that sprang up in the late half of the 20th century – Tyson, Hudson, Peterson to name the big three at the time. And with this many birds being moved about the region, there were more than a few escapees from the cages on the big trucks. The dead chickens and turkeys were just part of common roadkill in all the counties. You would see them all the time.
EXCEPT – if times got lean – there would be fewer and fewer – and not because there were fewer trucks full of birds on the way to processing.
So this week, on my way home one afternoon, I watched a man and son pick up squirrels off the road. Now I am not saying that they were going into the fry pan for supper, could be they were being used to bait traps or any number of other reasons. But it reminded me of a recipe.
Squirrel and Dumplings
2 squirrels, cleaned and cut into quarters
Salt and Pepper
Bacon grease or vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Clean the squirrels well, removing all shot and scent glands. If young, salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Fry in grease or oil until browned. Cover with water in dutch oven or deep pot and simmer until tender. If older, tougher squirrels, skip the frying and stew until tender.
In small bowl, combine flour and baking powder, add milk and mix until forms a light dough. May add additional liquid from pot until desired consistancy. Drop by small spoonfuls into pot, cover and simmer until dumplings float to top. Salt and pepper to taste.
Just another taste of the Ozarks and the course of our seasons!