Filed under: Satire
Is there any validity to the Roadkill Diet or is it just another prank?
Susie in Seattle
From what I’ve read, the Roadkill Diet is a very effective weight-loss regimen. The author of a book on the subject, nutritionist Newton Garfield, lost an amazing 75 lbs. in three months, existing on delicacies such as scrambled egg white with armadillo brains, or squirrel noodle salad.
It has been suggested that weight loss may be due to aversion, that is to say, dieters would rather starve than eat roadkill. True, there seem to be legitimate concerns about the safety of eating animals found dead on the road. However, Garfield states: “If you aren’t immediately sickened by the odor, odds are it’s safe to eat.”
Regrettably, I have been unable to locate a copy of the recipe book and so cannot provide advice to the chef for preparation of owl curry or skunk stew. Other cookbooks exist, but they do not take the matter seriously.
Viewed statistically, there is no question that roadkill could be a major source of sustenance for many of us in this country. This is, after all, America, the land of bountiful abundance. We have a whole lot of roadkill. It is estimated that over one million animals die every day on our roads.
But then we come to the matter of legality. State laws vary on collection of collision-killed animals. Some forbid it. On the other hand, some encourage the practice.
Montana recently joined some one dozen states where it is perfectly legal to harvest roadkill. Of course, human nature being what it is, there was some controversy due to the suspicion that drivers might intentionally target a freezer-filling moose.
The argument is disputable because the average cost of colliding with a large animal is over $3,000 in repairs.
One positive aspect of the diet that bears mention is that roadkill is organic and hasn’t been subjected to all the chemicals in diets of those creatures destined to become domestic meat.
And here’s a handy tip for those who travel in life’s fast lane, a shortcut to a quick meal. Australian scientist and author Len Zell “suggests wrapping it in foil with some garlic, onion, red wine and even some veggies and popping it near your car engine which will cook it slowly. By the time you’ve reached your destination you’ve got a meal.”
Still, there will be those who huff: “I will never eat that stuff.” Don’t be so sure. Those purists may have dined on it without knowing. Consider the case of the Red Flower Chinese Restaurant in Williamsburg, KY. Patrons noticed various deer parts peeking out of a garbage can that had been hauled into the kitchen.
A health official called to the site ordered the place closed temporarily. The owner claimed the deer was destined for home consumption. He would never dream of feeding it to restaurant patrons.
And here is another example of how slaughtered critters are harvested for human consumption. In California, where carcasses are generally regarded as state property, roadkill is routinely hauled to rendering plants. At those rendering plants the beasties are converted into gelatin for use in making marshmallows, gummy bears and ice cream, to name a few products. Yum.
Roadkill is much more than just a menu item. In another column we may explore the many other uses to which roadkill is being put. For now, in conclusion, let us mention one very creative food-related use.
A Scottish brewery stuffed bottles of beer inside dead squirrels. The public, as you might imagine, went mad for the stuff and the project sold out at $600-$900 per bottle.
Remember our motto here at camp: “If you take advice from The Fiddler, you need advice.” Send comments and questions to: Art of the Prank.
The Fiddler is a creation of W.J. Elvin III