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Home > Magazine > Food'n'Drink > Thanks, NPR, for covering OYB & Roadkill! ...Twice!

Thanks, NPR, for covering OYB & Roadkill! ...Twice!
March 18, 2015

It was fun chatting live with the Northern Minnesota NPR radio people about roadkill.

I got to relate a few of the basics. You want to check that the deer is fresh and not damaged. You don't want to overcook the meat. 130F is the sweetspot. And it doesn't need anything to cover the taste. Less is more. Bearnaise or Hollandaise maybe it all you need. A wild mushroom sauce. No marinade.

I got to mention Martha's Lazygal project. They asked if anything was cooking and there was: applesauce. Nice.

But I forgot a few things! I didn't get to tell them that Nor Minn is a favorite place because of how much I love XC skiing and paddling.

I forgot to remind folks about how with roadkill one needs to check both sides of the animal. The downside might have blood pooling and spoilage. Then if the upside is what was impacted, well, you don't have much of a deer. Now, downside meat can still be good but it's neat to notice the difference between good meat and great. It's an education.

I've posted about roadkill here at OYB before.

Another impt detail is to know that all birds of prey are off limits. Scavenger beware!

Check your state laws and be heads-up. Michigan just changed its law last fall to only require a written note about the incident along with your driver's license number. I'm not sure how it relates to those who didn't hit the animal. It includes small game for the first time! You used to need a hunting license and it had to be in season: silly stuff. That's been fixed. But ducks and turkeys are still off limits! So, adjust as needed.

I liked noting that roadkill fits with our cuisine just like other foraged food like wild apples and mushrooms and feral asparagus.

I also note that roadkill seems more moral than hunting. That's not to say that hunting is bad! Just on a scale as a suburbanite to clean up after suburban woes is a good thing. Also the closer to home we get our food, with the less mediation, the better.

As a bike rider I find roadkill to be a tragedy. It's a really bad thing. The carnage that results from our main mode of transport is truly shameful -- both in terms of people hurt and also animals.

It also seems, sad thought, that more is involved than accidents: I suspect driving brings out the evil in people or maybe they're just bad drivers. I've hit 2 critters in 3 decades. It seems like there's more killing out there than is naturally unavoidable. We're obliged to be better people and better drivers. Fight the dark side.

So using roadkill as wonderful food seems a good thing.

Then there's why I started doing it. Mostly it's because I'm not always lucky as a hunter. I don't have the time for hunting, either. And I can't do it in my neighborhood anymore: there's cost and gas involved. ...I do enjoy the time at deer camp with pals. So we make up for it with potlucks.

I also think VVA had a role in it. He's America's first bike racing hero. He inspired Greg Lemond -- who lives in Minnesota! He raced back when it meant poverty to do so. He also celebrated what he called "road prize." Many bikers are aware of this: cool stuff they find along the roadside. Tools, sunglasses, gloves. Some good things. Heck, even money. VVA was our first worldclass racer (in the modern age) and he also was a godfather of mtbiking, starting early events and making one of the first mtbikes. He gathered road prize for prizes in his races. For trophies he gathered and gave away other road prize: dried, jerkified, flattened road critters of talismanic, totemistic qualities, especially owls. (Federally illegal to gather.) He also scavenges for food. There's a famous story of VVA on a training ride with the Olympic team. He stopped for a fresh-killed rattlesnake, said "Lunch!" and slid it into his jersey pocket. I was fortunate to ride with VVA one weekend. He stopped for a dustbroom. He stopped for wild fennel, saying "Salad!" What a guy!

So... Last week the national NPR blog The Salt ran a text story about my roadkill ways. Here's a link to it. I note it has 150 comments!

What's more, a couple days ago a gal from a casting company called asking if our family wanted to be on a reality TV show! (I think we'll give it a shot.)

Whew, roadkill!

So this is, like, the third or fourth time I've been a part of weird national viral stuff. I've hear there can be science behind this. I should think about it more. What are the hooks in OYB?

...It's the only outdoor culture bookstore (on eBay mostly). It's trying to promote outdoor fun on a local, neighborly scale, as being the best way to get young, diverse people outside into the fresh air. The dominant side of outdoor sport is high-end, lycra, heart-rate oriented: and attractive mostly to Baby Boomers, who are starting to fade from the scene. So I publish and sell stuff meant to inspire and reach out in different ways.

I mean, it's funny that one of my videos of how-to XC ski was made by taping my mini-cam to a tree and skiing back and forth in front of it. I'm wearing thrift store clothes and skis. Yet it has 250,000 views. I'm thinking that making-do might be a good hook. The outyourbackdoor way...

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