"Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam, where the deer and the antelope play . . . " ~ Brewster M. Higley.
How do you like my bear slippers?
Just for you, I’m wearing my special Kellogg’s breakfast cereal pajamas. I wanted you to feel all safe and cozy before I introduced today’s real topic:
I tell you those Frosted Flakes really pack a punch.
Actually, the real real topic is EATING WILD ANIMALS. Uh-huh. Last week, I ate buffalo meat for the first time.
*pauses for stunned reaction from audience*
I’m not talking about those itty bitty buffalo wing appetizers either. I’m talkin’ furry-behemoth-roaming-the-Great-Plains-on-rare-nickels kind of buffalo. Yes, I seared and slow-cooked a genuine-for-real buffalo roast beast!
photo by Tony Eindfeldt.
And I really didn’t want to. Len brought it home by mistake. I sent him to
the South Dakota plains Whole Foods for a beef pot roast. But it was clear from the price sticker it was no such thing. Thinking the butcher may have mislabeled it, I carefully unwrapped the mystery meat. It had already bled through the paper into the plastic bag, and when I saw the dense, large grained, dark bloody red slab I knew this roast was from out of town. It was slimy like liver (which I hate). There was little fat (a good thing, but would it be tough?) — and I considered throwing it outside for our fox.
But — my foodie sense of adventure prompted me to investigate further. So where does a sensible recluse go for advice?
Buffalo Bacon Burger by ladybutcher.
Facebook, of course. I posed these questions to my friends: "Should I eat this thing? Have you ever eaten buffalo?" I’ll be danged if quite a few closet buffalo buffs didn’t come out of the meat locker in its defense. It was leaner than beef, and more nutritious, they said (high in iron and protein). Buffalo doesn’t contain any growth hormones (against Federal law). "I once used ground buffalo in a spaghetti sauce, and no one could tell the diff" (thanks, Sara).
Well, that was encouraging. But I did note — all these well wishers had eaten ground buffalo, mostly in burgers. No one had eaten a whole roast. I knew it was up to me to blaze a new trail, so I stepped up to the crock pot, smothered Buffalo Bill with veggies, and doused him with red wine. Six hours later, Bill came out tender and juicy. He looked like beef. He tasted like beef. But I still didn’t feel comfortable eating him.
By then, we had bonded. And I remembered Lt. John Dunbar, Two Socks, and the great buffalo hunt. When I first saw Bill in the raw, he looked like that drippy, bloody heart Kicking Bird presented to John. It didn’t matter that Bill was probably raised on a ranch in South Dakota, or that buffalo are no longer an endangered species, or that the Rainbow Room in NYC sells twice as many buffalo burgers as hamburgers. I know it’s the hip alternative to red meat, sought out by "enlightened consumers." I just couldn’t erase a lifetime of, "wild animals live in the zoo or Africa, and you don’t eat them, even if they try to eat you." Besides, isn’t it wrong to chew on the living symbol of the Great Wild West?
Alligator in Chinese grocery store by YinThinks.
I know what you’re thinking. Bill wasn’t really wild. Stop judging me. I’m actually a fish eater, wanting to go vegetarian. The pot roast was for Len, a NH carnivore who’s eaten stuff you wouldn’t believe: alligator, rattlesnake, zebra, ostrich, eland, impala, horse, gazelle, warthog, wild boar, venison, camel, goat, sheep’s brains, and antelope. His American Indian name (in polite company) is "Meat on His Plate." At home he just goes by "Farts a Lot."
More Len vittles:
Ostrich filet with red wine gravy by mudbuster.
Rattlesnake meat by The Keebler.
Sheep’s brains by ParaScubaSailor. (Len said they tasted like scrambled eggs.)
Salisbury Antelope by CloudsInMyBourbon.
Antelope is only a matter of time. Meanwhile, I need some of these cookies (help yourself):
photo by SweetSugarBelle.
and I’m sticking with the buffalo chicken wings:
Buffalo hot wings by rick.
So, wild people of the internet, what’s the weirdest or most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten? If you want to weigh in on the whole buffalo thing, be my guest. BTW, what’s your Native American name?
Thanks for grazing with us today.
Stands with a Soup Bowl
(seldom is heard a discouraging word)
More Pajama Party posts here.
Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.