Just returned from a camping trip in Pennsylvania. Tough to describe where, as the closest large town is Hancock, over the Maryland line. I was hoping to have breakfast at a restaurant in the bona fide outback with the catchy name of The Road Kill Cafe. There’s probably one of these in every state, but these particular folks do a good breakfast and cater to hunters and the locals–hard-scrabble farmers, retirees, escapees, survivalists and utopians–whose homes hide in every hollow. Sadly, the great Mid-Atlantic power outage had struck their little valley between the folded mountains, so The Road Kill was closed.
I have a T-shirt which I picked up there sometime back, with their catchy logo: “The Road Kill Cafe: You Kill It, We Grill It.” On the back is a list of “Menu Specials, Fresh from the Fender” such as ”Snake Bake,” “Raccoon Ribs,” “Groundhog Goulash,” “Too Slow Doe,” “Pavement Possum,” etc. As someone who works hard to avoid hitting critters and who despises the Yob-Ohs who drive over animals just because they can, I shouldn’t find this T-shirt funny, but, mostly, I do. The only entry I’m seriously unhappy about is “Cream-o-Kitty,” and that one set me thinking. If the creators of this tee think squashed cats are funny, then why aren’t we also offered “Devilled Dog” or “Delicious Down-home Doggie Dumplings,” or “Bumper Bowser?” Have I stumbled across a redneck food taboo? Is the hound dawg “unclean?” Or is it “sacred?”
I mean, we all know the Chinese eat anything that moves. (They have their reasons.) We know Vietnamese men eat dogs for virility, that the French eat horses and that here in U.S.of A., “Beef is what’s for dinner.” Personally, during a (very) long ago sojourn in the West Indies, I, then a finicky nine-year-old, ate and enjoyed both possum and iguana. The latter tasted “like fish,” and also, as you’ve probably anticipated, ”like chicken.” This makes more sense lately, since we’ve learned that today’s birds are the thunder lizard’s descendants.
Personally, cats, dogs, horses and whales are among the beings off my menu for reasons of conscience. What’s off your menu, or has anything unusual ever been on it? What say you, gentle reader?