Eating the enemy
Some weeks ago, on one of those sunny afternoons when everything seems so perfect that it is hard to imagine anything bad will ever happen again, I shot a squirrel. It was a magisterial moment; he tumbled from a high oak tree while an electric church organ tinkled in the distance. After writing “medium-sized squirrel” on a freezer bag, I popped him in, dropped him in a drawer and went to make a whisky sour.
A few days ago I pulled him out and turned him into some nuggets to serve as canapés for a little group of charming elderly people. “I don’t like squirrel,” moaned a retired academic. “I don’t think you’ve ever tried it,” I replied, like a mother battling a wearisome toddler.
Said academic tentatively dipped one in some chilli jam, and lifted it to his mouth with a look of disgust. As he chewed his face changed and then he ate another. “These are superb,” he announced to the group. I was delighted. I have often wished that pheasant tasted quite as nice as squirrel. I wonder if the problem of shoots struggling to get rid of game would be as bad if that were the case.
Sated on nuggets, I lay in bed that night and thought about the plight of our dear red squirrel. Then I fell asleep and dreamed about a giant one with a megaphone shouting: “Your country needs you to eat the enemy.”
Patrick Galbraith, Editor