Culinary Sleuth

Grilled Rats
and Other Weird Recipes

By Lynn Kerrigan


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I've been collecting weird recipes for several years now. Though I've made few of these recipes, I find them fascinating for some reason. I hope to compile these unusual morsels into a book someday, but with other pressing projects and obligations, that day may never come.

Weird Recipes

What is a weird recipe? I define it as any non-typical food or combination of unusual ingredients—foods you would never dream of pairing—that turn into something more than mildly edible.

Weird foods have been around for centuries. The wild success of the American "Survivor" television series had many viewers gagging at the thought of eating rodents. However, Calvin W. Schwabe in his book Unmentionable Cuisine (Charlottesville, Virginia: University of Virginia Press, 1979) says, "Brown rats and roof rats were eaten openly on a large scale in Paris when the city was under siege during the Franco-Prussian War." Observers likened their taste to both partridges and pork. And, according to the Larousse Gastronomique, rats are still eaten in some parts of France. In parts of Africa, the giant rat, cane rat and common house mouse all grace the dining table. I know a man who, being a squirrel hunter, frequently dines on members of the rodent family. If you're game to try a few rodent recipes—try these:


Bordeaux Grilled Rats

Skin and eviscerate rats that live in wine cellars. Brush with a thick sauce that combines olive oil and crushed shallots. Grill over a fire of broken wine barrels.


Stewed Cane Rat

Skin and eviscerate the rat and split it lengthwise. Fry until brown in a mixture of butter and peanut oil. Cover with water, add tomatoes or tomato purée, hot red peppers, and salt. Simmer the rat until tender and serve with rice.


Creamed Mice

Skin, gut and wash some fat mice without removing their heads. Cover them in a pot with ethyl alcohol and marinate 2 hours. Dice a piece of salt pork or sowbelly and cook it slowly to extract the fat. Drain the mice, dredge them thoroughly in a mixture of flour, pepper, and salt, and fry slowly in the rendered fat for about 5 minutes. Add a cup of alcohol and 6 to 8 cloves, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Prepare a cream sauce, transfer the sautéed mice to it, and warm them in it for about 10 minutes before serving.

Because some of you may have an aversion to cooking up rodents, here are a few tastier recipes that combine weird ingredients.


Grilled Rats and Other Weird Recipes

Weird Recipe Web Site

(Also visit our main Halloween Party and Recipes page)

Copyright © 1998, Lynn Kerrigan. No portion of this article may be reproduced for publication without express, written permission of the author.

This page created 1998 and modified February 2007