Yesterday Shapely Prose had a long, really funny discussion about food, recipes, Joy of Cooking, and a recent piece of what looks like bad science* blaming obesity on the fact Americans are using more grease and sugar in home cooking -- so much for it's being McDonald's fault -- and then this morning while ambling to work I overheard this intriguing bit of conversation between two fellows on their way to the bus stop: "when she popped the lid off that 5-quart slow cooker and there was that possum curled up looking just like a cooked chihuahua I liked to have died . . . ."
So now I'm wondering. . . do any of the editions of Joy of Cooking cover possum? I've got the 1951 edition -- it does come complete with the squirrel skinning illustration, but no actual recipes for squirrel although there are recipes for rabbit, venison, and some hints on wild game in general. We do have a possum or two ambling around the neighborhood; one shows up on the patio every so often. Would using a slow cooker make possum more edible? And what kind of wine do you serve with possum? I'd assume something made from muscadine grapes, in keeping with Southern traditional food groups, but who knows?
I'm also wondering, of course, just how many cooked chihuahuas that good ol' boy with the really thick hillbilly accent has seen in his time.
[*I'm not sure it's so much bad science as lame science, i.e., a didn't you guys have something better to do with your time? The study, published as a letter in the current issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, compares recipes from different editions of Joy of Cooking and notes that we're using different ingredients now than we did 80 years ago, serving sizes tend to be bigger, and calorie counts are higher. They also note there are cultural reasons for the shifts: more meat going into that hideous hamburger/tomato/macaroni goulash that school lunchrooms have served for millennia, for example, because, adjusting for inflation, beef is cheaper now than it was in 1931. And meat has a higher calorie count than pasta, hence more calories per serving of goulash now than back when my grandmother was cooking it. Bottom line, which tends to fall into the "no shit, Sherlock," category of scientific conclusions, is that Americans are eating better now than they did during the Great Depression.]