Eating rat and mouse meat, recipes and dishes from rats and mice. Extreme cuisine.

The first time I thought about the edibility of rats and mice, when I heard about the existence of a restaurant in London, in which a French couple supposedly treated visitors to a delicious braised rat rat. I was told that these people immigrated to England shortly after the end of World War II and brought with them a recipe that was born in Paris during the complete deprivation of the German occupation. 

Eating rat and mouse meat, recipes and dishes from rats and mice. Extreme cuisine.

It was especially difficult then with meat, and the couple with the help of traps caught rats along the alleys and cooked them with any available vegetables and greens, eventually developing their own special recipe, of course, an extravagant, but tasty dish.

Unfortunately, my friend told me, there were few rats like Parisians, and they were just as skinny and sinewy. But now, honey, all the difficulties are in the past. No ambush in the gates. Today they have their own rat farm, on which animals are fed with grain until they thoroughly grow juicy meat.

My friend said that on the menu the dish was listed under the French name, literally translated as a stew of rats, with a note in English: If available. As a result, the waiter could be sure that the client really understands what he is ordering. The only thing the owners wanted to surprise their visitors with was the great taste of the dish. They had no intention of listening to questions like WHAT I ate from suddenly green customers?.

, performing the function of a family hearth, and fried. Turning the carcasses with a stick until crisp.

Samniang said that in mice the meat is especially tender and they are eaten whole, along with bones and viscera, sometimes dipping in hot sauce beforehand. I saw all this with my own eyes. On one of her home trips, Samniang brought an electric wok pan, but the family continued to cook almost all of the food at the stake. It was there that I observed the process of frying mice on charcoal and eating them with all contents, including bones, with preliminary immersion in chili sauce and fish sauce. When, after returning to Hawaii, I told my friends about this, they exclaimed: And you ate it?!

After all, rats and mice are nowhere to be loved. No matter how much Mickey Mouse, Minnie, and other cute cartoon characters popularize their relatives, the mere mention of rats and mice makes many people tremble, few are ready to see them on their own plate. Many remember the words of the hero James Cagney, who turned to one of his cinematic opponents with the words: You, a dirty rat (or was it Edward Robinson?).

After a busy eight-hour day, a person is happy to return home to temporarily disconnect from the endless rat race. In rats, with their twitching sharp nose and predatory mustache, with ominous, protruding yellow teeth and a bare tail, not the most appetizing look. Worse, they bite children in their beds and carry many dangerous diseases. Newspapers constantly publish materials on the work of the sanitary-epidemiological services of large cities. From Bombay and Berlin to Beverly Hills. Trying to at least one step ahead of rats in their desire to captivate more and more territories.

One 1997 report provides evidence that in the UK rats live in every twentieth house, that about 60 million individuals live in this country, and this with a total population of 58 million people. On the other hand, rats, mice, and other representatives of the rodent detachment boast a long gastronomic history, which is partly due to its large number and variety. After all, rodents make up about 40% of the total number of mammals on our planet and are all edible, including rabbits, squirrels, marmots, beavers, chinchillas, guinea pigs, porcupines, gerbils, hamsters, and in Latin America also agouti, coipu and capybara – tailless animals that are cooked in the same way as milk pigs.

In some regions of the world, the meat of certain types of rodents is a common, everyday food product. In Illinois alone, hunters annually mine between 1.5 and 2 million squirrels. And yet, most rodents rarely eat. Some species are perceived by Euro-Americans as absolutely gastronomically unacceptable. First of all, this certainly applies to mice and rats. The widespread black rat (sometimes has a brown color) most likely arrived in Europe from Asia in the 13th century on merchant ships. Shortly afterwards, it is believed that fleas that lived on rats caused an epidemic of bubonic plague. 25 million people died from it, a quarter of the population of Europe.

Today it is established that rats are carriers of at least twenty diseases. Including typhoid, trichinosis and lassa fever. Not surprisingly, in the Guinness Book of Records, these animals are described as the most dangerous rodents. Nevertheless, there are rats and mice that are easy to catch and can be eaten without fear. Moreover, many people eat them not only during difficult times, but also daily, and even as a delicacy. And eat for millennia.

In ancient Rome, the dormouse contained in the cages was stuffed with nuts until they became well-fed to meet the emperor’s needs. These animals, whose body length (without tail) reaches 20 centimeters, were so popular that they were bred in spacious enclosures and delivered to Roman soldiers in Britain. In imperial China, the rat was called a domestic deer. A dish of her meat was considered a particularly refined treat.

Marco Polo wrote that Tatars eat rats in the summer months, when there are especially many of them. At the time of Columbus, when ship supplies were depleted due to unforeseen delays on the way through the oceans, the specialist in catching rats turned into an important member of the crew. His work was highly paid, and rats, usually perceived as pests, became a valuable source of protein. In the 19th century in France, many residents of the province of Bordeaux traditionally feasted on open fire fried rats with shallots.

Thomas Jenin, a renowned chef and organizer of the province’s first culinary contest, held in the 80s of the 19th century, considered rat meat to be a first-class product. When the capital of France was surrounded by the enemy during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871, the meat of black and gray rats appeared on the Paris menu. Henry David Thoreau is credited with saying that he liked fried rats with spices. Although some argue that the writer spoke of muskrats, who probably lived near Walden. During the Vietnam War, Viet Cong considered rats an important food resource..

In not so long ago, Gordon Liddy, one of the initiators of the Watergate scandal, stated that he ate rats cooked in a truly American way, that is, fried. Although many are sure that he did this, only to demonstrate his courage. Today, in large parts of Latin America and Asia, as well as in parts of Africa and Oceania, rat meat is still a common snack and main course. There are popular restaurants in parts of China where dozens of rats are cooked..

In the Philippines, peasants prey on field mice and rats with machetes and flamethrowers. In Taiwan – with traps, nets and with the help of dogs. In countries from Peru to Ghana, rats and mice are perceived as an important source of animal protein. Even in the US there are commercial suppliers of both. A company called Gourmet Rodent (literally Delicious Rodent) sends customers freshened and frozen carcasses with UPS and Express Mail. And live animals – by Delta Air Freight cargo planes to the recipient airport. It should be noted that such companies place their advertisements in magazines for snake lovers, although, according to publishers, some customers immigrated to the United States recently and do not hold snakes.

The traditional recipe of isans. Deep-fried field rats.

4 adult rats or 8 young individuals.
2 tbsp. tablespoons of salt.
1/2 teaspoon pepper.
10-15 crushed cloves of garlic.

Gut and freshen rats by cutting off their heads and tails. Combine the garlic, salt and pepper, coat the carcasses with this mixture and soak them in direct sunlight for 6-8 hours, until dry. Then fry in large quantities of vegetable oil for 6-8 minutes, until a golden crisp is formed. Serve with rice porridge, sweet and sour sauce, fish sauce or hot chili paste and fresh vegetables.

Traditional Burmese rat recipe. Rat Noodle Curry.

6 adult rats (the larger, the better).
450 g rice noodles.
0.6 l canned coconut milk.
2 large peeled onions.
6 peeled cloves of garlic.
4 green chili seeds.
3 teaspoons ground turmeric.
0.2 l vegetable oil.
4 tbsp. tablespoons yellow chickpea flour.
2 tbsp. tablespoons of fish sauce.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Refresh and gut the carcasses of rats, put the peeled meat in a large saucepan, pour water and cook under the lid for about an hour until the meat is soft. Allow it to cool, remove the bones, cut into pieces. Leave at least 1.2 liters of broth. Chop onion, chili, garlic and mix everything with turmeric until a thick paste forms. In a wok pan or in a large saucepan, heat 120 g of oil and fry 60 g of noodles until crisp – just a few seconds is enough.

Dry the noodles on a paper towel. In the remaining oil, fry the mixture of onions, garlic, chili and turmeric. While stirring, dilute the mixture with broth and coconut milk and simmer for 10-12 minutes, then set aside. Dilute the flour in a small amount of water to a liquid consistency, add a few full spoons of the above mixture, and then, after stirring, pour it into the pan with the unused mixture.

Once again, simmer it for several minutes over low heat. Then put the meat in it and pour the fish sauce. Cover the pan with a lid and keep on a warm stove. In a large pan, bring salted water to a boil. Dip the remaining noodles into it, cook and cool when ready. Then lay the noodles in a colander or sieve. Rinse and allow all liquid to drain. Spread the noodles into cups and put the meat and sauce on it. Garnish with crispy noodles.

Based on the book Extreme Cuisine.
Jerry Hopkins.

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