Saturday, May 18, 2013

Native American Cooking: Rattlesnake

Yes, we ate rattlesnake. My teacher doesn't like snake, but it turned out that snakes are more abundant and/or easier to catch than other local forms of meat (rabbit, deer).

A member of our class did the honors, catching a few snakes and skinning and gutting them before class. He said it was just like gutting a fish. Unfortunately, one snake bit itself as he was killing it, and we couldn't decide whether or not it was safe to eat that one. In the end, we decided it was probably safe - but we left it for the coyotes to enjoy since nobody wanted to take the risk.

Here's how we cooked the other one.

We got a fire going, and then we fetched dinner out of the fridge:

After a mishap or two with the snake sliding off the stick, I think someone tied it in a knot to keep it on there.

As the snake cooked, I entertained myself with plants. Specifically, mustard. The invasive black mustard you find everywhere has started to go to seed, and the seeds are good to use in - what else? - mustard! Apparently black mustard is much spicier than white or brown mustard, but you can reduce the amount of spice by adding hot water instead of cold to your mustard or by adding an acid like vinegar. I plan to figure something out.

Me and my mustard

It didn't take long before the snake was done. Here's what a serving looked like:

One of my classmates took a bite and said, "Tastes like chicken. No... really. It DOES taste like chicken."

And it did. Rather dry chicken with very little meat on it. Even though it was a big fat snake (with 9 rattles!), there wasn't very much to eat on it. In my view, it's not worth taking the life of a snake for the amount of meat you get from it.

The Kumeyaay would actually eat the bones too. They ground them into a fine powder and added them to their food. I guess, if you do it that way, a snake could provide a decent amount of food. Or, at least, you aren't wasting such a large percent of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment