Squirrel Stew Anyone?

propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

They say write what you know. I agree with that in some ways but I always believe it’s necessary to stretch your wings and try things that are new.

In my second book of the Inzared series, Inzared The Fortune Teller, life was very different from today. My character, Inzared, grew up on a bleak mountain in North Carolina where life was hard and food provided from the dense forests that surrounded the base of the mountain.  Her father was adept at bringing home deer, bear, possums, squirrel, rabbit and any other game  or fowl to make succulent stews or preserve for the cold winter months.

mountaincabin

I actually based Inzared on my mother-in-law who regaled me with tales of her hardscrabble life on a farm in the piney woods of North Carolina. She was proud of her heritage and never let anything go to waste.

deeerThis excerpt from Inzared The Fortune Teller happens around 1855-56. Inzared’s son Timmon is now the provider of food for the family although Inzared is a crack shot and can easily bring home a squirrel or two herself. Some of the meat was made into tasty stews and some of it dried into jerky.

Excerpt from Inzared The Fortune Teller ©L.Leander

With Timmon gone and the girl asleep, I gathered firewood. Above me I heard the sparrow’s sweet song and a couple of squirrels as they chattered to each other across the squirreltrees. I moved quietly so as not to disturb the other creatures that lived in the forest. Spotted a black snake as it wound its way across a wet path of brown leaves, in search of somethin’ to eat, I supposed. Farther along I caught a glimpse of a mother whitetail deer as she nursed her baby fawn. She looked up in alarm, but I stood still and she relaxed as she nuzzled her baby. Timmon had his bow and arrows and I knew he’d look for small game, squirrels and rabbits with which I would make tasty stews and dried jerky for our travels. Gaji, I thought as I let myself wonder about the strange girl who had so suddenly appeared in our camp. Then I chuckled as I realized that I was also Gaji, but I’d lived with Gypsies so long I thought like them. Wandered back to the fire with an armload of dry kindlin’ and thought about what I should do.

With an experienced self-proclaimed “hillbilly” for a mother-in-law I’ve eaten and made these dishes. It was this knowledge that campfire2helped me write some of the scenes in my book. I’ve canned, preserved, dried, and smoked meat, made sauerkraut in large crocks, churned my butter, made head cheese and am an excellent cook on either a wood stove or outdoor campfire. In another post I’ll tell you about my pies on the campfire.

 

 

Here are a couple of links if you’d like to check them out. One is for the squirrel stew.

http://www.food.com/recipe/squirrel-stew-like-grandma-made-76112

similar to what I made and the other is a you tube video about making jerky and cooking whole squirrels over an open fire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9-m4bvRZ00

And just for kicks, here’s a you tube link to Merle Haggard’s Rainbow Stew.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STLAuUzzdiU

Have you ever had squirrel stew?  Would you try it?  I’d love to hear your answers!

 

Books by L.Leander:

INZARED Book Cover_1Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders (Book 1)

 

 

 

 

Inzared Queen of the Elephant Riders Video Trailer

 

InzaredTheFortuneTeller_V2Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book Two)

 

 

 

 

Inzared, The Fortune Teller (Book 2) Video Trailer

 

13ext13 Extreme Tips to Self Publishing

 

 

 

 

 

13marketingtipscover13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an ebook

 

 

 

 

 

You can also find L.Leander here:

L.Leander Website

Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page

Twitter

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Google+

 

 

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19 Responses to Squirrel Stew Anyone?

  1. L. thank you for this post. Totally captivated by your stories. People who know how to take care of themselves, survive the toughest of times. Going to order Book 1. Loved the excerpt. Love the book covers, too.

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    • Thank you Sherry. A lot of the first book has some truth in it, such as modeling Inzared after my mother-in-law and including a lot of the things I’ve done. The book covers were done by a friend who lives in Ireland who is starting a company to do book covers. I love them! Thank you for the comment.

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  2. Wranglers says:

    Linda, I loved this post. I grew up like that too, but I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have. I remember going hunting with my Dad, but he didn’t like it. I like the taste of wild meat. I can’t wait to learn how to make pies on the campfire. We have bonfires often. I loved the first book, and when I get a little caught up, I’ll get the next one. I also have your shorter books. I’m still trying to figure out how to use the half hour increments. LOL Cher’ley

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    • Thank you Cherley. It’s interesting to have the knowledge of “the old way” of life and be able to use it like this in my stories. I remember once when we had slaughtered a hog for the freezer and after we cut and wrapped everything we made chitlins. We had a lot of them and my girlfriend suggested we make cookies. They were so good! We found a recipe, mixed it up with the chitlins and they turned out crisp and good. I’ve definitely had a lot of interesting experiences in my lifetime! Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Doris says:

    Memories of a childhood and eating game. Didn’t care for it then, and don’t eat it now, but that time was a wealth of other, pleasant and not so pleasant thoughts.

    The excerpt begs one to hear the rest of her story. Nicely done. Thanks! Doris

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    • Thank you for the comment Doris. For a long time I didn’t know the difference between wild and tame meat. We still make venison jerky and sausage. Everyone has different experiences and memories – isn’t that great? We can all learn from each other.

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  4. OMG I made squirrel stew once when R and I first got married. It was gross, I wasn’t much of a cook then, and threw it out. I like stew but I make beef stew now! Interesting.

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  5. My first rabbit stew was a disaster too, but my mother-in-law could make anything taste great and she taught me all about cooking wild game. I love the taste of Venison tenderloin cooked with fresh morel mushrooms from the woods. Yum! Thanks for commenting!

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  6. Mike Staton says:

    I’ve never had rabbit or squirrel stew, but I’m game. In my second novel of the my fantasy trilogy, I did have an elf do some hunting and come up with some rabbits for a morning meal. Googled to get some background on skinning a rabbit. I was getting the chapter reviewed on an online writing site, and the reviewer told me I had it all wrong. Back then I was a tech writer and a fellow tech writer from my company, he was a hunter and a taxidermist … well we were at a hotel near a paper mill we were working at. We were drinking beers down in the hotel bar and I asked him to read the portion of the chapter dealing with rabbit skinning. He said it was fine. So I didn’t change it. Lol.

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    • I didn’t mention skinning the squirrel in my book but I didn’t do the skinnin’ I did the cookin’. However, it’s necessary to have the facts straight or someone will probably nail the author. Good you talked to the tech writer and he knew about the subject. Thanks for commenting Mike. Both rabbit and squirrel stew are very tasty – you should try them sometime!

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  7. erinfarwell says:

    When I first moved down to Georgia, I kept hearing about Brunswick Stew and asked people at work about it. Everyone had something to say but none of the answers matched so I looked it up in a great big dictionary (this was before search engines could find answers so fast). It said that it was a stew that originated in Virginia that had at least 2 meats in it like pork and squirrel. I don’t know what upset everyone at work more, that it claimed it originated in Virginia or the comment about the squirrel. 🙂 Love the blog

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    • Thank you for liking the post. I know of Brunswick stew but that’s something I haven’t made, although it sounds easy and I can see squirrel and pork creating a very flavorful stew. Hard to know why people react sometimes, and maybe sometimes it’s better not to know? lol

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  8. Nancy Jardine says:

    I look forward to reading Inzared 2, Linda, since I really enjoyed the first book. I’ve eaten rabbit stew before but never squirrel. In the 1960s our fishmonger occasionally had rabbit and my dad thought it a luxury. It wasn’t till I was older that I realised that many people wouldn’t buy it because they thought it was a ‘poor man’s dinner’, and others were cautious in case it was acquired illegally (poached). Where I lived the reaction to squirrel would probably have been much the same since rabbits and squirrels weren’t often seen in my suburban housing estate. If I needed food, I could probably eat anything, but I have to admit that if I had to hunt something my attitude might be different.

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  9. sstamm625 says:

    I haven’t eaten squirrel stew, but I have eaten squirrel. I grew up in Kentucky, on a farm, and had an uncle who liked to hunt. I usually got to help him “dress” the squirrels. I’ve had rabbit too–and frog legs from the frogs in our pond. I’ve also made sauerkraut and butter–and both of those I’ve done in the last few years (as well as when I was a kid). Great blog, Linda! I’ve been meaning to get your books. Now I have to! 🙂

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    • I love frog legs! We had a pond on our property and my husband and our teenage boys would go frog gigging once in awhile. Very good but I always felt bad about not using all the frog. I hate waste. Aren’t the old ways fun to learn? I guess at heart I’m really a pioneer woman! lol

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  10. katewyland says:

    Never had squirrel, but when I was a kid in Michigan my folks and older brother were avid hunters and fishermen. So I had lots of wild game (and helped clean it). Even had pheasant out of season. We had bay windows across from each other and the silly birds would try to fly though our house. By the time I came along, my mom was not into canning or preserving anymore, so I missed out on that.

    Fun post.

    Like

  11. Travis says:

    My grandmother made squirrel stew for me after I shot a couple on their property (they were eating up the pecans before we could collect any of them). It was awful. Also, I never hunted squirrels after that.

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  12. Ha ha Travis. Everybody has different tastes but it’s definitely in the way it’s prepared. I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Maybe next time you could make squirrel jerky? It has a totally different taste but then of course you’d have to hunt squirrels again. Thanks for commenting.

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  13. Neva Bodin says:

    Enjoyable post. Never eaten squirrel or rabbit, have eaten frog legs, and turtle stew and deep-fried alligator so imagine I would try it! Funny how food preferences are a product of our imaginations and upbringing. Ate head cheese and blood bologna growing up and some think that’s all gross. But it was delicious the way mom prepared it. Homemade saurkraut is so much better than store bought too. Now my mouth is watering!

    Like

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