[Chef Dad note: Welcome to Weird Wednesday. I spend a lot of time cooking food, thinking about food and reading about food. Weird Wednesday celebrates curious intersections between food and human nature, whether the human in question is me, someone else or society at large.]
A couple months back, I waged jihad on rats that were building a restaurant in my compost heap. I counted six of the little vermin climbing out of the bin one evening and wondered if there was a Groupon offer featuring my address. The real problem after this discovery was that I could no longer get anyone else in the family to take out the compost scraps. So Chef Dad had to do battle alone, armed only with the flashlight app on my phone and the abiding knowledge that I’d gotten lazy about turning the compost pile.
I bought traps with steel jaws and spread them around the compost bin.
These were major works of industrial art, with serrated teeth designed to snap the little buggers’ necks in the nicest possible fashion. That is to say swiftly and with as little suffering as possible.
Really, I was trying to be kind to the annoying little beasts.
The next morning, one of the traps was gone. I found it a couple days later in a spot that’s fenced off with chicken wire. It could only have gotten there from being dropped in some fashion from above. No rat remains in its pristine jaws.
It was a mystery. How did this happen? How did the trap get hoisted from the ground and dropped into a fenced-in spot?
So, I applied the keen eyes of a trained observer and the discerning thought process a man uniquely brings to such a situation. Only one logical conclusion presented itself.
“Commando rats,” I told the wife (also known as BMW in this blog, see this post). “Stealth helicopters. Grappling hooks. Little night-vision goggles.”
“That was Disney’s movie, G-Force,” she said.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I replied. “Those were guinea pigs. Stick to reality.”
“Yeah,” BMW said, “good luck with that.”
Speaking of rats and reality, The New York Times reports that eating rats is a new art form. In the immortal words of Dave Barry, “I am not making this up!”
Artist Laura Ginn gave up being a vegetarian to explore rats as an artistic medium and that artistry ranged from dress-making (see Dave Barry disclaimer above) to haute cuisine. The writer of this story managed to avoid the obvious line – “tastes like chicken” – but does report that, once skinned, rats resemble rabbits.
Scroll down the second page of the article for a recipe for braised rat.
Insert your own ratatouille joke here.
And if you’re reading Ms. Ginn, install a good security system, add some Kevlar to that dress and don’t underestimate your enemy.