A Serving Of Revenge
Life On The Back Page - February 2016
Pierre Ambroise Francoise Choderlos de LaClos was a squirrel hunter.
Had to be.
I can’t tell you whatever else he may have been—other than most likely nicknamed “Bo” by his Pa—but from the way he talked, it’s a given that the guy spent a lot of time in the woods with some type of firearm. Or sharp stick. Or throwin’ rock.
What Pierre or Ambroise or Francoise or Choderlos or Bo was alleged to have originally said back in 1782 was this: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
Maybe he thunk it up hisself or maybe it was one of a dozen others the quote was also attributed to, but I’m sticking with Bo. (And also never typing his full name again…)
Loosely translated—by me—the statement boils down to the idea that vengeance is more satisfying when exacted over the avenger’s own sweet time and in cold blood. Yep. Definitely a squirrel hunter.
Evidently, this saying got lodged in the hinterlands of my medial temporal lobe—which I never even knew I had one of—despite repeated attempts at flushing everything ever experienced in eight-grade English class.
Remember history class? The Spanish inquisition? My eighth-grade travails should have been termed the English inquisition. I can picture that teacher even now. And lose my appetite.
Which we’ll come back to momentarily. For now, let’s wreak revenge…
At least the “cold” part was on cue, since a couple of regions south of that temporal lobe were semi-frozen and petulantly refusing to cooperate. Go figure, since all I was doing was sitting on them. So the ground was a little cool…
But with the initial scratching of claws on hardwood, discomfort was forgotten and that quote leapt out into the open: yes-sir, now it’s my turn!
The rascally rodent slipped downward, tail flipping like a signal flag. Can’t say for sure that this was one of the guilty ones, but we all know we’re judged by the company we keep—and he was in the wrong neighborhood!
“Revenge is a dish best served cold” popped into my head; I don’t know what the squirrel was thinking. And the shotgun didn’t bother to ask…
“BOOOOOM” echoed down the hardwood bottom. And you can’t have any idea how satisfying that sound is unless you’ve ever endured another: the contemptible, sissified, nails-on-chalkboard squealing of an abominable rodent alerting everything within a square mile of a hunter’s presence.
Only this time, heh-heh, I wasn’t holding a .30-06!
You see, from beginning to end of deer season, getting nailed by one squirrel after another, I vowed that as soon as the whitetail season closed, it was extermination time for resident rodents.
So when we finally got some good, cold, deer-hunting weather—AFTER it was over—I perched under the same trees I’d been climbing and blasted away.
And while revenge may not be exactly PC in this idiotic, somebody-hurt-my-feelings day and time, it was at least well served. In fact, the first round felt so good that I added 11 more of the high-pitched little hooligans to the bag!
Besides, when it comes to squirrels, nobody can eat just one.
Cooking is always an adventure with me, especially with anything personally coolerized. So, after knocking the hide off—rather gleefully, I might add—the recently deceased dozen, it was time to come up with some way or other of getting them to the table, preferably in a fashion fit to eat.
You gotta be kidding; where’s the fun in using somebody else’s recipe? If it was all that good, would they be telling you?
Too, they may even like tomatoes! I may well be the only born-and-raised Georgian who has no use whatsoever for a tomato or any of its by-products. If I hear how sumptuous a fresh termater sammich is one more time…)
So this is what I came up with…
Dry rub for venison. (Because it was amongst all those other spices in the cabinet, and I like it, that’s why. Besides, venison is meat, and squirrel is meat. Tried to find any dry rub for squirrel lately?)
But first you gotta rub the meat down with white vinegar—vin EE gar, Ma says—to make the rub stick and give it a little tang. Marinate overnight, not feeling a bit vexed over the fact that they’re the ones now feeling the nip in the air.
Because next comes boiling in a big pot, with water salted and peppered as lightly or heavily as you please. For as long as you want. If you simply MUST know, just make them bubble for 90 minutes.
Got rabbit? Add it! Doves, ducks, any other game at all? Toss it in!
(And if you have andouille sausage—or even know what it is—call me, and I’ll come help you eat. Stuff in only enough sausage as is humanly possible without making the pot boil over.)
When a stirred spoon causes meat to fall off bones, add rice. What do you mean how much? How much room is left in the pot?
With that slow boil continuing, in about 20 minutes you’re going to have enough of a meal to feed your neighborhood. Or my two boys.
And I don’t want to hear any tut-tutting from you squirrel-frying purists. If I wanted shoe leather, I’d eat shoe leather. We ain’t charging you no extry for the recipe.
But I got a word for ol’ Bo LaClos: revenge ain’t so bad piping hot, either…