Who ate the squirrel?
I’ve got first dibbs on the antlers and gloves: Bullwinkle Moose

The rise of Alaskan governor Sarah Palin has also brought a tasty state staple to national attention: Moose.

“You got a problem?”In the 49th State, more than outsiders might even realize, moose meat is everywhere. It’s not just something Alaskans eat in the wild. “Even for the cosmopolitan Alaskan, who might be more likely to go to the Anchorage Opera than to a hunting camp, moose is not foreign,” The New York Times observes.

Moose stew often turns up at the office potluck. At a party, moose salami on a cracker might be passed around with the other appetizers.Diane Moxness, executive director of the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage, was charged by a moose during a run through a city park earlier this month. Although she doesn’t hunt, she said friends who do sometimes serve her moose. She recalls a particularly good pizza topped with ground moose.

“It was like hamburger but with a lot of flavor,” she said.

“Anybody hungry?”With the exception of the big back straps and a few other sections that can be cut into steaks or roasts, most moose meat in Alaska becomes hamburger, sausage or stew meat. Spaghetti and stroganoff are popular uses.

Moose is more coarse-grained than beef, has a deeper flavor and is very lean. Younger cows are considered tastier than older bulls.

“Moose is, in my mind, much better than caribou,” said [Rick Sinnott, a wildlife expert with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and biologist]. “But it’s what you’ve grown up with. People in villages who eat caribou think moose tastes a little strange. It’d be like eating a white-tailed deer if you grew up on beef.”

I was once a moose….In the kitchen, moose can be stringy and overcooks in a flash. For hamburger and sausage, the meat is usually mixed with fat. Although some hunters like to reserve the tallow for that purpose, others prefer pork fat.

Moose survive largely on tree bark, marsh grass and, as many people in Anchorage and Fairbanks can attest, the contents of carefully tended flower beds. While their diet can affect flavor, so can the way the animal is killed and dressed. Shoot an animal that is running down the road in fear, or fail to take it down with the first shot, and its adrenaline-filled meat will be dark and unpleasant to eat, hunters say.

Nothing gets wasted.

“Yesssssssssss?”The nose, which can be about the size of a volleyball, is shaved, much the same way bristles are removed from a pig. A sharp knife will do the job, but a disposable razor like a Bic also works, [Mike Dunham, the arts and entertainment editor of the Anchorage Daily News and a veteran of several moose hunts] said. Then the nose is boiled in salt water for several hours. The result, he said, is not unlike beef tongue.

“You can cube it and add to soup with noodles and rice or whatever is in the pantry,” he said. “It does get quite gelatinous and tender.”

If you’re grossed out by all of this,

“Learn to shake your head and laugh because it really is a regional food, just like black-eyed peas or grits or rattlesnake,” said Robbie Graham, a hunter who is also the chief executive of Bernholz & Graham, a public relations firm here.

Probably the smartest statement I’ve ever heard a p.r. person make. Seconds?



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