It Tastes Just Like Chicken!

Article written by Sarah Duncan

When I was younger I was lucky enough to have a job that allowed me to travel to some relatively exotic locations.  As a jewelry importer, I visited rural Mexico and Italy on several occasions.  I never hit the big tourist destinations – my time was spent in small villages where the culture was very unique to the area.

One unforgettable element about those years was the food.  Sometimes it was so fantastic I tried to recreate it when I returned home.  Other times the simple food I was served reflected the poverty of the area, which was underlined by an attitude of using the resources that were available, whether or not they happened to be appetizing or generally acceptable to my North American standards.  To encourage the reluctant American guest to try the unfamiliar foods, my hosts nearly always told me “It tastes just like chicken.”

When offered hospitality in a poverty-stricken area, it was important to cast aside my reservations and simply eat what was offered.  In the Third World, survival is dependent on making the most of what is available.  One day this may be true for us as well.

After the first time I was served el gato (cat) in Mexico, I learned the valuable lesson of not asking where the meat had originated until after I’d already eaten.  In Mexico, I have consumed cat, rattlesnake and armadillo.  Here, I learned that with enough tasty seasonings and spices, nearly anything can be not only palatable, but downright tasty.

My travels in northern Italy were very different.  Italy is as far from the Third World as you can get.  However, the food there, especially in the Northern portion of the country, is quite different.  It was in Padova, Italy that I was served carne de cavallo.  It was served on an antipasto platter and was quite tasty, until I made the mistake of asking the waitress if it was beef.  Because I didn’t speak Italian and she did not speak English, she got the point across by whinnying and slapping her thigh.  (I regretted instigating that little pantomime as soon as the horrible realization set in that I was eating Black Beauty.)

In a long-term change of lifestyle, we may have to get over our squeamishness in order to survive.  We can take lessons now from other cultures by learning not only how they prepare their foods, but what they prepare.  If it boils down to survival, we may have to broaden our concept of what constitutes an acceptable source of protein.

Changing the texture of the meat can make it more palatable.  Ground meat of any type can be added to spaghetti sauce or any other recipe in which you would use ground beef.  You can turn your meat into sausage with the use of a meat grinder and the addition of sage and some other spices.  Smoking the meat or turning it into jerky are other options that make it less recognizable to the more squeamish members of the family.

When providing food for your family in a survival situation, think outside of items you would find in the meat department of your local Kroger.  In many places the following animals find their ways into the stew pot:

  • Alligator/Crocodile
  • Armadillo
  • Bear
  • Beaver
  • Boar
  • Cat
  • Dog
  • Fertilized Eggs
  • Frog
  • Grouse
  • Guinea Pig
  • Horse
  • Insects
  • Rabbit
  • Raccoon
  • Rats
  • Seal
  • Snake
  • Squirrel
  • Turtle
  • Worms/Grub

Take the time now to look over some recipes for meats that you may not have considered before.  Then you can plan ahead by stocking the spices needed to prepare these foods in the tastiest way possible. After all, it tastes just like chicken.

Chili Mix

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 11th, 2012
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  • countrygirl

    Good article, I recently read a book, Girl Hunter, in which the author talks about some of her hunting trips and recipes and really knowing where your food comes from. I’d recommend the book to someone who hasn’t gotten there dinner with there own hands, as it is a very rewarding experience, it also has recipes.
    As far as your list goes, I’ve eaten quiet a few, I didn’t see porcupine which is also very good and can be caught and killed by a motivated person with just a club or rock. Also a lot of fish, walrus and whales, I know someone who’s not from my neck of the woods would read that and think I’m horrible, but in Alaska the native population still does subsistence whale hunting and it is a very important part of some communities diets.

  • Great post but you forgot to add “Fresh Road Kill” the meat is fresh and you didn’t have to hunt for it. Make sure to clean and cook it well.

  • Jason

    Don’t forget about opossum, porcupines and bullsnakes aren’t bad either. All of which get consumed at our house on a regular basis. Not because we’re starving, but because we really like them. BBQ raccoon is a staple the kids love and beaver is good but a little greasy. I have some great recipes if anybody wants to try some of the above mentioned critters.

    • Jason –

      Yes, we’d love to see some of your recipes! Knowing how to prepare these types of animals for a good meal would be good to know!!


  • karyn

    Why no mention of birds? I live in southern Arizona and we have Dove and Quail everywhere. I feed them so that they will always be around if I ever need them to feed me. 

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