The Newcomer

What's for dinner?

Sometimes when deadlines squeeze me into tight corners, I know exactly how the missionary in that big, black, iron pot felt as the flames licked upward and the cannibals stood by waiting for the dinner bell.

At other times, I feel more like the impatient cannibals.

While cannibalism has never appealed to me personally, I do admit to being curious about the eating habits of those who so indulge. After all, what is so strange about snacking on whatever sort of animal happens to cross your path?

In the Micronesian Islands, lunch might be the juicy little dog that was running around being a pest only hours before. When my grandson, who was eight at the time, heard about this practice, he took it stoically, proclaiming, "Well, people from some other country might think it was strange if they saw us eating a pig, don't you think?"

Yes, I do think.

A neighbor of mine here in Sunnyside was a little appalled to think that anyone would eat a squirrel...but another friend tells me he has eaten quite a few and found them tasty. (Not that he eats our local squirrels NOW. I think this happened somewhere in hill country years ago.)

The same stigma seems to also keep opossum off our menus, although at one time (yet today?) they were a sweet, Southern delicacy, weren't they?

When I visited Delaware in 1990, the grocery stores carried a deep red cut of meat that I was told was muskrat, which my friends there found to be delicious. Don't ask me, because muskrat was out of season when I was there so I had to confine my intake to the pork and 'greens' that were staples on the restaurant menus.

Part of the fun when traveling is sampling the local cuisine. You will never hear me ordering a Big Mac when I'm away from home, even if they are available.

However, on the other hand, I will probably never nibble on a missionary's finger..unless we are very close friends.


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