Rats–coming to your grocers soon! by John Wood Sr
I personally think Mr Prakash has a noble idea–another good source of cheap protein is invaluable, especially considering how many of the worlds millions live on the edge of starvation. I truly hope that his endeavors are successful, and that his visionary idea spreads across the globe.Which brings us to the United States.
Our citizens have a strong revulsion for anything “rat”, and the mere mention conjures up images of the Black Death, babies chewed on in their cribs, filthy rodents scurrying through sewers, up through their drains, and ARRRGGHHH. Couple these stereotypical responses with the Human Genome Project’s recent announcement that “plague rats share 99% of their DNA with used car salesmen and televangelists”, and you can see that the marketing people charged with cleaning up the image of the poor rat have their work cut out.
But they can do it, and they certainly will, once they see the enormous profit potential. They can get people to buy anything, and if you think you’re immune to their diabolical skills, think again. Take a walk through your house and garage (remember to check your closets and fridge)and look at all the “stuff” you have and ask yourself if you really needed it when you just had to buy it. I rest my case.
Anyway, once the marketing geniuses have made “rat” into the next “must have” rage, you’ll be overwhelmed with a proliferation of rat foods and products that will prove irresistable even to people with deadly allergies to rodents.
Upscale restaurants will outdo themselves with new culinary delights such as “Norwegian Rat Fritters with Raspberry and Cilantro”, “Rat Kebobs with Seasonal Vegetables” and “Rat Cordon Bleu”.
McDonalds will have ratburger “Happy Meals”, with a “lucky rat’s foot” in each one.
Rat will supplant pepperoni as the most popular pizza topping.
Billions will be made by those supplying rat to school lunch programs.
Taco Bell–never mind, you don’t want to know.
Frito Lay will market a full line of rat chip snacks, and pork rinds will share shelf space with rat rinds.
Rotisserie rat will be ubiquitous in supermarket deli’s– hundreds of new sauces and marinades will fill the shelves– rat sausage (links and patties) will have good visibility–and rat will be promoted as the “new traditional” Thanksgiving feast.
Rats in the meat cases of gourmet markets will be presented wearing little flea collars to heighten clientele appeal.
Canned “Mock Rat” soup will be made with (ugh) chicken.
In short, rat–pressed, dressed, caressed, promoted, exalted, foisted, baked, boiled, fried, broiled, grilled, stuffed, gumboed, skewered, breaded, shredded, bone-in, skinless, chopped, ground, formed, filleted, trussed, water added, fresh, frozen, farm raised, organic, free-range rat– will be king.
When you take your first delectable, mouth-watering bite of rat you’ll shed tears of joy. At that moment, stop and give thanks and to the selfless entrepreneurs who made it happen just for you. Oh, and send a note of thanks to Mr. Vijay Prakash. Last I heard, he was still in India.
This dietary alternative is for people that don’t want to give up the meat in their diets, don’t have the option of raising their own animals*, yet want to lower their environmental footprint. Livestock takes a lot of energy and resources to raise, with such possible needs as heat lamps, incubators, bedding, pens, fences, food, water, and veterinary care. Even if materials are cheap or free, one’s time must be invested in the animals’ care (and eventual slaughter).
Personally, I think folks would be better off eating lower on the food chain, gaining better health, more money, and more time. However, I’m realistic enough to know that’s not going to happen, so I want to offer this guide to cheap sustainable meat in an economically depressed, post carbon world. Think of it as useful knowledge to have just in case. If you do raise your own livestock, spread the word about these alternatives. It may just keep the hungry family down the street from stealing your chickens in the middle of the night.
Rodents in your food supply can be a disaster. They eat away at your stores, poop in your food, carry fleas with disease, and attract snakes. Two futuristic films show people depending on rats as their primary source of meat. Sylvester Stallone scarfs down a tasty grilled ratburger in Demolition Man, and the children chase and catch rats for dinner in the apocalyptic Terminator II movie. You don’t have to wait until things are that rough to eat your rats, though. And don’t forget about mice. Farley Mowat, the naturalist assigned to study wolves and made famous by the movie, Never Cry Wolf, found that mice were a pretty good source of protein.
In the book, When All Hell Breaks Loose, Cody Lundin recommends standard mouse and rat traps to take care of pantry pests. One concern with rodents is fleas that may be carrying diseases such as hantavirus or plague. He has found that fleas leave the host as the body grows cold so that by morning there’s generally no sign of the insects. It might be best to set traps away from areas with household pets as you don’t want the fleas to find an easy alternative host! Cody recommends examining your quarry carefully to make sure it looks healthy. If the critter looks like it may have been diseased, toss it – better safe than sorry. Read the Centers for Disease Control pages (and the links they provide) before embarking on your new rodent diet.
Prepping mice for dinner is pretty easy. You can toss the whole mouse into the coals to let the fire singe off the fur. When the body swells from the pressure, tear open the stomach area and remove the intestines and any droppings. Finish cooking on the coals until crispy and chewy, but not so long it turns into charcoal. Due to their larger body mass (and more meat!), rats will need to be gutted and cleaned before cooking. Wearing gloves is a prudent precaution against contamination. Although you can just cook them on a grill like chicken, gourmet survival chefs might want to check out other recipes.
If you think this all sounds like way too much work for a little protein, check out this video from National Geographic. These fellows are willing to spend an hour digging out their native rats, which they claim are more tasty and tender than antelope.
The Canadian, Canada’s National Newspaper
In India, the secretary of the state for welfare in the state of Bihar has called for more rat harvesting and eating to beat the rising prices of food. Vijay Prakash envisions another benefit to rat eating: killing the rats will help keep the population under control and reduce the amount of grain stocks being devoured by the voracious little eaters, LINK
Currently, over 50 percent of Bihar’s grain stock is destroyed by rats.
Practical Prakash realises he has a sales job on his hands, and is currently meeting with hotels and restaurants to include rat on the menus and make the dishes appetising.
“Some socially deprived people in Bihar have always consumed rat meat. If they can eat rats, why can’t the rest of the people?” he told India’s The Week. “This will help in mitigating the global food crisis. We are sure that it will work wonders.”
In Bihar, the traditional rat eaters are called the Musahars — a group looked down upon as ‘untouchables’ in India’s caste system of social hierarchy — who have always made their living by hunting rats in the rice paddy fields.
“We’d like to have a network with other experts to boost the rat meat business” said Prakash. “We will encourage and help the Musahars to organize rat farms in order to commercialise rat meat. The government has decided to engage the Musahars in commercialisation of rat meat for their overall development.”
Estimates place the number of Musahars at 2.3 million people, many of whom are considered the most deprived and marginalised in Indian society.
While Bihar is in the north-east of India, rat eating in the South of India has reduced the amount of chicken eaten.
In the rural south-eastern part of Bangladesh, villagers have had to turn to rats as a food source because they have done so much damage to the local crops.
Deploying hill traps during the once-in-50-years bamboo blooming season, the villagers try to stop the rats from eating the seeds. The seeds are so nutritious for the rats, it causes them to breed four times faster than normal. The growing rat population then moves on to eating the local crops of rice, ginger, turmeric and chillies.
The rats are now so plentiful, they have become a major food source.