My dad was a Baptist preacher when I was a kid. Not full-time like big-city preachers, 'cause he had to make a living farming, but he was usually the one up there doing the preaching on Sunday. Because of this, we would travel sometimes to other churches where he'd preach and we'd stay with some family from that church.

One time, in the dead of winter, we stayed with some family in a shotgun house. I must have been real young, maybe 4 or 5. It was so cold where I slept that they put a half dozen quilts on top of me.

That morning, when I got up and went into breakfast, there was this big round plate with at least a dozen squirrel heads arranged in a circle. I learned that the idea was to pick up your cooked squirrel head, pop it real hard on the top to expose the brains, then scoop the brains out and eat 'em with your eggs.

After freezing my little ass off all night, this psycho-weirdness really had me wondering if I was ready for this world of adults.

Apparently, from what I gather from a New Yorker article I am now reading, it is a not uncommon practice in Kentucky, U.S.A. for people to shoot squirrels out of the trees and then eat them. This sounds as unlikely to me as it might to a Kentuckian that the poisonous fugu (blowfish) is mighty fine eatin’. To each their own but it is fun to look over at someone else’s plate. After all, the salad there might indeed be greener.

Now, according to this article, “Squirrel And Man” by Burkhard Bilger:

“In August of 1997, two neurologists, Joseph Berger and Eric Weisman…published a letter in the British medical journal The Lancet. A disturbing pattern had come to their attention. In the previous four years, five patients in western Kentucky had been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or C.J.D., of which mad-cow disease is a variant.”

Oh my.

“All five patients had one thing in common: they ate squirrel brains.”


Let’s see. Later on, the article says that squirrel soup had been thought to cure colds. Oh, and here’s something about squirrel sandwiches…

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