All Hail the Rat!

I’m talking about muskrat, not dirty city rat. Not that it makes much of a difference but I just wanted to clarify. Please don’t judge me on my food choices because of this post. I realize that this is my first food-related post and probably should be about a food that is appetizing to most people…. but c’est la vie. This is just what I happened to be eating this weekend… or at least watching other people eat.

Ok, I bet your thinking several things, including but not limited to: “What is a muskrat?” OR “Where do you go to get muskrat?” OR “What would motivate somebody to eat a rodent?” Well, this is what a muskrat looks like:

It’s sort of cute, like a beaver. But I wouldn’t eat a beaver. I digress.

Yeah, so every year the Gibraltar Rotary holds a Muskrat dinner. It’s sort of like a culinary history lesson for us young folk and a trip down memory lane for the older crowd. The history of eating muskrat (at least in the Downriver area) was that during Lent, the Catholic archdiocese said that because muskrat lived in water for most of it’s life, it can be consider fish and, therefore, ok to eat on Fridays. So muskrat became a staple (to the pleasure of some and trigger of gag reflex of others) on Fridays during Lent. It has come out of favor since then because not many people know how to trap muskrat, or moved onto other culinary pursuits, or people just don’t want to eat something with “rat” in the name. But long lives the muskrat dinner to honor the noble creature!

So this is what the critter looks like when it’s cooked:

Yes, that is it under the onions. Yes, it’s black. It tastes game-y with a texture sort of like liver. They season it with spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. It gives it a nice taste but overall the texture sort of turns me off.

So you might be wondering why do I go to the muskrat dinner? Open bar!!! And the other food they have is really good, like fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Anyway, please don’t judge me for eating this. I promise more appetizing posts in the future.

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2 thoughts on “All Hail the Rat!

  1. When exactly in history did the Catholic church make the muskrat a water fish? Depression Era? It kind of freaked me out to see the cute muskrat on its happy pile of sticks and then see it on a plate.

    • I don’t know exactly when the Catholic church decided that muskrat was fish-like. This year they didn’t tell the story like they usually do, so I had to rely on my memory from last year (which is a bit suspect because of the open bar situation). The depression is probably a good guess though.

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