Rabbit meat roast. Goat stew. Squirrel satay. Do these exotic meats sound thrilling and unique, or does the thought of eating a wild backyard dweller make you cringe?
Whether it reflects the changing economic times or a more adventurous collective palette, unconventional meats are all the rage. CNN has written about the advantages of squirrel meat, while The Guardian has presented a case for dining on unwanted male dairy goats. And the New York Times reports that though rabbit meat is sometimes a controversial menu choice, this meat is enjoying a new surge in popularity due to the trend of American diets looking to the past for inspiration. Could it be that unconventional meats are a healthy way to lessen meat-eaters’ dependence on factory farms?
Rabbit meat is often heralded as a money saving meat that comes into vogue in tough times, though buying it through a supplier can actually be quite expensive. For people that desire a lower cost meat and aren’t afraid to literally get their hands dirty, there is a growing trend of breeding rabbits for meat. Raising these backyard bunnies is easy on the environment, especially compared to huge factory farms, and relatively easy. In a time of neighborhood gardens, backyard chickens, and fierce loyalty to local markets, this trend fits right in.
The Guardian has reported that in the world of dairy goat farming, there is one looming, worrisome factor: being essentially worthless as far as milk production is concerned, male dairy goats are often killed at birth. Obviously, this is blatantly wasteful. But there might be a solution – use the goats for meat. Though consumers are generally uneducated when it comes to goat meat, there are farmers that are trying to change that. And in Britain, it seems to be working. Top chefs around the country have begun offering goat on their menus.
Of all the unconventional meats, squirrel meat may be the hardest to wrap your head around. After all, squirrels are reminiscent of furrier rats, and some people are quite fond of them and their high-flying antics. But Americans have been eating squirrel for a long time. Like rabbit meat, in the early 1900s squirrel was an everyday thing to eat. Some southerners may still enjoy it to this day. CNN also makes the case that squirrel is abundant, delicious, and easy to cook. But before you start scouting out your backyard, do some research. Its important to stay away from squirrels that have been scavenging through the trash.
Though it may take some getting used to, looking to alternative meat sources just makes good sense. And who knows? In 20 years, rabbit meat, goat meat, and squirrel may be on the menus of the best restaurants in the country.
- “Give squirrel a whirl”, CNN Eatocracy
- “Should we eat more goat meat?”, The Guardian
- “Don’t Tell the Kids”, New York Times
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