Cute as it gets and up to 20 pounds. It’s estimated there are 100 million of these critters in the Southern USA swamps alone, and they’re displacing native animals and destroying plants at an alarming rate. During the fur trade years, Nutria were introduced into South West Washington. Only God knows where these varmints have migrated, but many who see them confuse them with other critters like Beaver, Otter, or Muscrat and never report them. I was thinking, it’s a new year, and your resolution might be to get rich? Nutria are doing a lot of damage to dykes and levies, and since a female can raise a dozen young a year, we should expect the levies to look like swiss cheeze soon.
Think about the days of indentured servants here in North America, there was a time when only the poor folks ate lobsters, crab and other delicies of our day. wealthier people thought it all unfit to eat!
French people eat snails, Southern Boys eat pickled pig’s feet, so why is it we don’t deep fry up one of these Nutria and mix it in with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and see if anyone can tell the difference? Yes, we do need a more attractive name, maybe we just give it a French name?
About 1981, I worked in the Lake Hills area of Bellevue, WA. We found this small Asian Restaurant that specialized in a lunch trade, we were most impressed with their $1.25 special. It was great, and Jim Nichols and I ate there nearly everyday until the place unexpectedly closed. We used to laugh and discuss the fact that we had no clue what kind of meat we were eating, and we finally decided we didn’t really want to know. The food was just too good, and the price was less than half what we’d pay anywhere else. We did nickname the place “The dog and Cat”, and we’d attempt to recruit others to join us for lunch there. As I reflect, I think about the book “Of Men and Mountains” I mentioned here https://www.utterpower.com/happy-new-year/ . In that book in the chapter called ‘food’, Justice Douglas talks about Cougar, and how good it is. I also recall a close friend of 30 years who I first met at 4500 feet elevation in the Cascades who confirmed what Justice Douglas said in his book “Cougar is good…Cat taste close to Chicken”……….. In that same chapter on food, Justice Douglas tells of a small Chinese restaurant that did serve Cat. I’d guess his time frame was in the 1920s, around Yakima, Washington. He went on to say, that no one knew the difference, and people enjoyed the good food served there….. just like me and Jim Nichols did… I think I’d go back to that place in Bellevue if it opened tomorrow. Of course, I’d check out back for small saucers of milk and cages just out of curiosity.
Now we know the Chinese make some incredible fur garments, and let’s face it, at first look these Nutria look like beavers, so maybe the Chinese translation would be beaver? I bet the Russians will buy beaver fir coats when they’re 1/3 price.
Eat them, or wear them, now all we need is a catchy phrase, maybe a jingle? “Save a Dyke… eat a Beaver”. OK, that’s a big miss…
Question: Can you render the oil out of these guys? How many miles to a Nutria in a Ford 7.3 litre Diesel pickup?
Well, that’s my ‘get rich idea’ for 2011, there’s plenty of room here for you to share your ‘get rich quick idea’…
BTW, my youngest Grandson likes Cat, in fact his best friend is a Cat. No doubt Zach would be all for eating Nutria instead.
So I get this email today from Texas, Barry Smith (top DIYer) writes the following.
“If a Cajun can’t figure out out how to eat something you can’t eat it”. Good general rule to follow. Attached is this recipe for Cajun Style Nutria.
So, those crafty Cajuns got all of Lousiana an more covered, but don’t worry, there’s plenty of space not being hunted or trapped yet.
I’d bet there’s all kinds of Chinese resturants serving up Nutria as we speak!
Maybe we just wrap up with a Cajun tune, and give those boys some credit.