April 2009 - Posts - Main Street Meltdown
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Main Street Meltdown

April 2009 - Posts

  • Fried Squirrel and Dandelion Salad

     I have noticed an odd trend in the media lately.  I have seen articles and some television programs which highlight some of the "edibles" you can find in your own backyard, even if you happen to live in a large metropolitan area like New York City.  These include fishing in ponds, preparing squirrel or making salads from dandelion greens.  One of the episodes of the short-lived NBC series "The Chopping Block" featured would-be restaurant owners touring Central Park, learning about edible plants that could be harvested right from the park and made into gourmet dishes.  The show was cancelled after three episodes due to low ratings.  I'm not sure if that was due to the questionable practice of eating something that was growing in Central Park.

    Has it really come to this?  Have people been driven to the point of frugality that they are willing to eat something that I pay the landscaping guy $30 a month to come out and spray my lawn to kill?  

    When I was growing up, my dad was an avid sport fisher and hunter.  He does have some mounted birds and deer heads around his home, and I'm pretty sure he's responsible for drastically reducing the whitetail deer population in South Dakota.  He didn't hunt or fish just because he liked it.  He did it to help put food on the table.  I grew up eating wild fish like Northern Pike, walleye, perch and catfish, as well as deer, antelope, quail, pheasant, duck and goose.  People pay big bucks to eat stuff like that at fancy restaurants these days.  To us, it was just a way of avoiding Hamburger Helper night.  

    My wife and I live in a suburb of a larger city, but we still manage to plant and grow some of our own food in our backyard and in large buckets.  My wife has an herb garden, and I usually take a stab at growing some tomatoes.  Besides tasting better, the herbs alone save us plenty of money over buying fresh at the supermarket.  However, I have to draw the line at pulling dandelions from my front lawn and making some kind of salad out of them. We have a name for those things where I live:  weeds.

     Adventurous eaters might enjoy a fine squab at a four-star French restaurant in New York City, but would they feel the same way if that pigeon was harvested from a nearby park bench?  I'm thinking...probably not.  

    I'm sure the current state of the economy has spawned this recent rash of "alternative food source" articles and TV show topics, but I'm not sure we've been driven to the point of living off the land in Cleveland or Detroit yet.  Despite my bit of "window box" gardening, I still get the majority of my groceries from the wilds of Aisle Number 7 at the grocery store and Wal-Mart.  

     The squirrels are safe in my neighborhood, at least for now.


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