One of my Michigan relatives once told me in hushed tones a story at a potluck. Year earlier on a drive back from a fishing trip, a car driving in front of them accidentally hit a deer. They stopped and her father made sure no one was injured and reassured the shaken driver that nothing could be done. They dragged the young deer to the side of the road and both families left the scene. Inside both cars, apparently the same conversation erupted. “Should we go back and get the deer?” With visions of a venison-filled freezer, her father decided to double back — only to find the driver who hit the deer strapping it to the hood of their station wagon. Caught, the other man shrugged his shoulders sheepishly. He double checked the bungee cords before getting back into the car to drive away.
A story in Slate reminded me of this situation. After a brief debate, the author and her husband debate retrieve a particularly nice looking (and presumably tasty) specimen of a rabbit on the road. As their debut experience with roadkill, they rely on YouTube videos and internet-based information on how to bleed, skin and prepare their find for consumption.
It’s an intriguing essay. I don’t know that I would ever pick up roadkill, especially if I didn’t know exactly when it had been hit or if Mike were in the car; he can barely muster a visit to a French butcher. I doubt that I’d ever venture in the restaurant of a chef certified to cook and serve roadkill. But, the larger story is that so few us consider where our food comes from anymore. My mother used to kill chickens when we lived on a farm in Michigan, and every year, my mother shot a deer. I can remember big bucks hanging from the stout end pole of the clothesline.
So while many who read the story may recoil, it makes one wonder. Perhaps more of us should participate in the slaughter of the meat we consume, if only to know what it truly means to be a carnivore?