A Whale of a Time

We've been saying for years that we should have an old-school Joy of Cooking dinner party, because of all the fun recipes like "Cheese Carrots," which requires you to shape cheese into carrots! With a sprig of parsley for the green bits. How droll! And delicious! It looks like a carrot, but it's....cheese! Yeah. I don't know. Apparently - even though I recall much laughter at the time - it wasn't fun enough to spur us into actually having that dinner party. But! Now we found something even better. I cannot possibly make it more entertaining than it is, so here is the original recipe, courtesy of Irma S. Rombauer:


If possible, trap possum and feed it on milk and cereals* for 10 days before killing. Clean, but do not skin. Treat as for pig by immersing the unskinned animal in water just below the boiling point. Test frequently by plucking at the hair. When it slips out readily, remove the possum from the water and scrape. While scraping repeatedly, pour cool water over the surface of the animal. Remove small red glands in small of back and under each foreleg between the shoulder and rib. Parboil, page 132, 1 hour. Roast as for pork, page 407. Serve with: Turnip greens."

*Do you think any cereals will do? Cocoa Puffs? Froot Loops?

There's something about a recipe that encourages you to keep your food alive for ten days before you cook it. If possible. If not, well, I suppose it won't be quite as savory, but it will do. And just in case you think that's a fluke, there are pages devoted to these critters - raccoon, peccary (?!), woodchuck, squirrel - there's a delightful line drawing of how to skin a squirrel: apparently once you've cut the skin a bit, you hold it down with your shoe and pull up on the carcass, and it will just peel right off. How many shoppers at Whole Foods know that useful tidbit, do you think?

So we have a new dinner party to plan, now. If anyone is feeling extra-ambitious, she recommends allowing 1/2 pound of whale meat per person (see page 362). I'll bring the Cheese Carrots.

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