Monday, November 11, 2013

Wild Game Cook Out in Kentwood, Louisiana

David Spencer
Wild game cooking is deep rooted in the African American  communities in the deep South. This was the first wild game cooking event that I ever attend. Sweet Home Folk Life Museum hosted the first wild game cook out. I have never tasted coon, possums and wild hogs. Vension (deer roast) is about as far as  I think I want take eating wild game.. Most people who hear about wild game kind of shy away from it. Okay! lets think about it--who wants to think about eating possums?

When we think about wild game we often think about meat with a strong flavor and can be difficulty to prepare and cook. I think I would have to become a vegetarian! Talking with men like Charlie Thompson and David Spencer have been hunting and trapping wild game since they were young boys.

Mr. Spencer said that he was twelve years old when he started coon hunting. He was taught how to train the dogs for coon hunting season. He told us that he used to eat possums until he saw the possums eating the carcass of a cow and that was the end of his possum eating days. He compared the possum to a scavengers, a possums reminds me of a vulture that can be seen on the side of the road eating dead animals.

One thing that all the men pointed out to me, they all said that they wouldn't go hungry. They know how to trap, hunt and plant their own food. I asked if they think that today's  young people would know how to survive and the reply from all of them was no they wouldn't know what to do.

Charlie Thompson-Grilled Wild Hog
One elderly white lady named Ferrie Blackmon joined in on the conversation and share with us how she use to go wild game hunting with her father as a child. She would go duck hunting and coon hunting with him. Marcia Wilson, the museum curator, quickly said that her taste buds haven't yet acquired a taste for wild game.

In the mean time, Charlie Thompson and Joel Ramsey get up and check the meat on the grill. It's time to take the wild boar off the grill and put the venison on. Mr. Spencer gazed the meat with and eye to see if it looks like it is ready. He appeared to be the master chef in charged.

I thought like so many others people that this type of food was a slave diet, I learned that both black and white people in the deep south ate this kind of food because that what they had to eat if you couldn't afford beef and chicken.

I could have sit there all day and talk with these men about hunting and planting food. This oral history should be recorded and preserved. It is oral history like this that can help us understand the way of life before fast food restaurants and precooked food. Like Ferrie Blackmon said, " everything had to me made by hand, planted by hand and grind by hand."