Monday, April 17, 2006

Hassenpfeiffer Hell

In our local store, on the freezer shelf, sits, or rather lies, a pair of rabbits. At least I think they're rabbits, but they could be cats or badgers. With their legs stretched out fore and aft, they seem to be in a state of suspended animation frozen as they made a futile bid at freedom before their necks were rung. If science in the future ever perfects reanimation after cryonically-induced stasis, this pair might luck out because absolutely no one in town has the remotest interest buying them.

I have never tasted rabbit or hare due to a childhood trauma associated with rabbits.

One of my friends had received a bow and arrow set for his birthday, and we were all itching to try it out. Being about twelve years old, we quickly became bored with shooting targets (probably becuase none of us could hit it even from ten yard's distance). So the obvious escalation was to live targets.

We prowled the ravine which backed our housing development for big game, little game, or anything breathing. We tried shooting birds in trees but quickly abandoned avian prey since the arrows were nigh on impossible to retrieve and our supply in the quiver was quickly dwindling. Besides, none of us could hit the broad side of a barn, and attempting to hit something that small was statistically improbable.

Rounding a bend in the path, we were startled to see a rabbit sitting motionless in a little meadow. Like veteran huntings, we came to an instant stop, and exchanged "should we or shouldn't we" glances at each other. Not able to achieve a telepathic consensus, my friend holding the bow decided to take unilateral action, drew, and shot the rabbit.

Poor, unfortunate rabbit. Its head became the only target we were able to successfully hit that whole afternoon. Straight through the head, with equal portions of arrow protruding symmetrically on either side of the skull.

As city boys we learned two important lessons that day - things do not die instantly like in the cartoons. And that rabbits cry like babies when they are injured. Bawling away, the rabbit hopped around frantically for what seemed like an eternity, and after about half a minute crawled under some brush to give up the ghost, arrow still lodged macabrely between its ears.

Shamed by the cruelty of what we had collectively perpetrated, we just left our first trophy there, arrow in situ, and returned to our houses shamefacedly like the guilty, Bambi's-mother-murdering criminals we were.

As an avowed meat-eater, I still to this day cannot pull a trigger on an animal, though I suppose I could if I was hungry enough. And I still won't eat rabbit.


Anonymous Nunya said...

I have never nor will I ever go hunting. I cry at roadkill, it would never work. I've eaten rabbit and snake, both taste like chicken. Of course I wasn't aware what I was eating 'til afterwards which works out best for me, lol. I recently bought bison and stuck it in the freezer with hopes that one day soon I will work up the nerve to actually try it! I heard it's much juicier than regular meat, but I wouldn't know for sure just yet.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...

Wow. I'd be pretty traumatized, too, Nanuk.

And your story reminds me of my brother, who to this day will not eat crab because he watched my grandmother, um, clean, and prepare live crabs for cooking when we were kids.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Fuff said...

That sent a shiver down my spine. I'm not surprised you won't touch it. I have a problem with scallops. I find the way they swim off the seabed too endearing to even contemplate eating them.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

My only memory of my grandfather is of him laughing as I spit buckshot onto the tray of my highchair.

Don't think I've eaten rabbit since. Doubt we're missing much.

4:06 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Nunya: my advice for that buffalo meat is to stew it. This tends to mask any strong flavour which it may have, and allows you to nibble on it a little at a time. I haven't tried it but I'm told it tastes like beef ;-)

T&B,etc: yep, that ought to put him off shellfish for life.

Fuff: LOL. I shuck scallops a few times a year, and looking at all those little eyes staring accusingly at me is almost more than I can bear. But WTF, I LOVE SCALLOPS!

anna: there's an old folktale that finding buckshot in your food will make you fertile well into your '60's.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Sarah Letnes said...

I always get the willies when I see rabbit in the meat section.

Buffalo does taste like beef. They don't have a gamey taste like deer.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Eternally Curious said...

I think what we are exposed to early on determines, in large part, our preferences/reactions in later life. For instance: I grew up being asked to eat all manner of strange and (sometimes) unnamed meats and other foods. Later I watched friends of the family, hunters all, bring undressed quail, pheasant, rabbits, bear, snakes, wild turkeys - you name it - to my stepmother to de-feather or de-fur, clean and prepare. Since Stepmum was Oriental, born and raised in rural China (dad was Caucasion), this was actually quite commonplace and so I became accustomed to the scene. Thus, I've always been an "adventurer" when it comes to food. My brothers, however, who were not raised by my stepmum and Dad and who were mostly city dwellers, are very much stoic "meat and potatoes - and only NORMAL meats, please" types!

Sorry for your experience, Nanuk. It must have been awful, and is perfectly understandable why you developed your aversion.

7:20 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

You have to step on the rabbit's head and crush his skull. That shuts them right up. You don't want to stress 'em too much before they die or the meat tastes aweful.

Rabbit isn't too bad, though it can be a bit gamey sometimes. Soak the skinned carcass in whole milk over night and fry it with some apple slices and bacon, that'll take care of the wild taste.

Don't feel too bad about ol' Peter Cottontail, the little bastard was probably getting his snack on in your mom's garden anyway. He had it coming, nice shot BTW.

8:25 PM  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

If I had to kill to get meat, I'd starve.

Poor little bunny rabbit. Poor little city boys. I would have been traumatized for life!

11:35 PM  
Blogger merlinprincesse said...

I can't kill neither... And like Dawn, I think I would prefer to starve to death. :(

8:02 PM  

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