July 29, 2015

Local history buffs munch on muskrat in Michigan

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 1, 2013

MONROE, Mich. (AP) — Most of the menu read like a typical buffet, with soup, salad, turkey, pork and potatoes. But the first offering at the annual Muskrat Dinner in Michigan was distinctive: a pot of the rodent’s meat mixed with creamed corn.
“Most beginners are a little hesitant to dive in, especially when they see the carcass laid out on the plate,” said Ralph Naveaux, who helped organize the event. “But those of us that have been raised on it, we just adore them. It’s almost an addiction.”
Members of the Algonquin Club of Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, and other muskrat aficionados — about 80 in all — made their way to the Monroe Boat Club, 40 miles south of Detroit, for the recent event.
The history buffs chatted about local lore and heard from a speaker about the War of 1812, but the star of the show was sherry-soaked, boiled and plated.
For these folks, chowing down on muskrat was as natural as seeing the animals scurry around local waters.
Algonquin Club member Robert Lynch, of Kingsville, Ontario, was among those looking to sample a taste of history — muskrat was a staple of the frontier diet of the region’s French settlers.
According to Lynch, muskrat can’t really be compared to other kinds of meat.
“I heard somebody say that it tasted like a strong, dark turkey meat. And that would probably be the closest,” said Lynch, a 70-year-old retired elementary school teacher. “But there’s nothing really to compare to it. It’s just different. Some would say it was an acquired taste.”
Muskrats, also known locally as “mushrats” or “marsh rabbits,” are not rats, but they are members of the rodent family. They eat mostly plants and vegetation, are about 20-25 inches long (including their tails) and weigh between 2 and 5 pounds.
Area residents have been dining on the marsh-dwelling critters for centuries — ever since trappers pared away the animal’s odorous musk glands and determined its meat was good to eat
Charlie Hyde, past president of the Algonquin Club, made his way through the buffet line, sat down and began to dig in.
“Yum, yum,” he crowed after taking in a fork-full of muskrat meat and creamed corn.
“This is actually about the best muskrat I’ve had in about a year. It’s the only muskrat I’ve had in about a year,” joked the 67-year-old retired history professor from Royal Oak, Mich.
“Actually, it’s very good.”

Comments

comments

Local

Rowan commissioners appeal ruling on prayer

Local

Salisbury Police Youth Crime Prevention Camp at Saving Grace Farm

Local

Chief: VA evolving in approach to patients, input from staff

Crime

Blotter

David Freeze

David Freeze: Some issues but everything worked out just fine

Local

Posters July 29

Local

Panelists will lead community forum discussion at Hood Thursday night

China Grove

Reception for Freeze set Aug. 9 at China Grove Roller Mill

Legion baseball

Legion tournament: Myers leads the way to state title

Legion baseball

Legion tournament: Myers comes through in clutch, Rowan wins state title

Crime

Sex offender on most wanted list in custody

Local

Diehard fans bask in glory of baseball at Newman Park

Columns

Wayne Hinshaw: When football physicals were a team effort

Education

RCCC: If General Assembly increases fall tuition, college will pay difference

Food

Salsa showdown: Peaches and cinnamon win

Kannapolis

Kannapolis approves bond order for downtown

David Freeze

David Freeze: Lots of time on the water and more new friends

Elections

Garver wants to ease burden on Landis residents, businesses

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with groping jogger in downtown Salisbury

Local

Stokes Ferry reopened after bridge repair

Local

Keep Rowan Clean effort to start Wednesday with talk by Keep Iredell Clean leaders

Crime

Police: Man touching himself in public charged with indecent exposure

Crime

Police respond to domestic incident, charge mother with child abuse

Local

Man, woman injured when motorcycle hits car on Peeler Road