I am perfectly aware that in more rural parts of the world, eating roadkill is not terribly uncommon, and I have no quarrel with this practice. And yet: this man Arthur Boyt clearly has a basement full of skulls. From Der Spiegel:
Proper preparation is especially important because some of the animals he finds have been dead for a few weeks. You can just pick off the maggots and worms, he says, and still enjoy the meat.
“I’ve eaten stuff which is dark green and stinks — it does appear that if you cook it well, its rottenness does not hinder one’s enjoyment of the animal,” Boyt told the AFP. “It’s not in the taste of the food; it’s in the head. It’s a threshold you have to step over if you’re going to eat this kind of stuff. You say ‘OK, this is just meat.'”
“I have never been ill from eating roadkill,” Boyt notes. “People have been here for a meal and been sick when they got home — but I’m sure that was something else.”
Presumably he followed up this last cheery statement with a long, low chuckle and a thump against his locked cellar door.
Last week I attempted to make tacos, only to throw them away in despair and disgust when I noticed a few dark mold spots on the ground meat (Damn you, Trader Joe’s, and damn the evanescent freshness of your unprocessed groceries). Could I have still eaten it? Could I have flung it out in the street and then come back for it a few days later?
The article also goes on to mention that eating roadkill is perfectly legal in Britain, as long as one doesn’t purposely run down animals with one’s car, which seems tough but fair.
The retired researcher’s favorite dish is dog, which he says tastes a bit like lamb. He has eaten two lurchers and a labrador that had been hit by cars. He insists he tried to find the owners before eating them. But, after failing to do so, he washed them down with red wine.
Here he comes, the neighborhood children sing out to each other in warning as he makes his grim daily rounds. Here comes the corpse-eater of Cornwall, the badger man, he comes for the bones, the bones, the bones.
Boyt has been eating roadkill since the 1960s. His freezer contains a variety of species ranging from buzzards to slow worms.
Here is my main quarrel with England. What is a lurcher? What is a slow worm? What crawling, twitching horrors shamble across the fields of England and bleed out in her streets? Here in America we have five animals: we have dogs, we have cats, we have deer, we have eagles, we have bears. Normal animals, with normal names, who either swim or fly or run on four legs. None of this lurching, none of these slow worms. We don’t have any worms here, and if we did, they’d move at a normal pace and wouldn’t try to slow anyone down.
“Boyt’s wife, on the other hand, is a vegetarian. So he only cooks roadkill when she goes out. ‘She goes to see her mother once a week,’ he says. ‘So if she stays the night, it’s a grand opportunity for a big feast.'”
Don’t come back in the house. Please. Stay out. Run.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.