First Catch Your Hare

One morning at Chateau d'Ars, I awoke to find something strange hanging from the hedge. From a distance it looked like a cat.

On closer inspection it turned out to be a wood-cat, a stubble-stag, a shook-deer, a wry-leg, a cow-with-leather-horns, a malkin, a long-ear, a cross-mouth, a hare.

It looked rather sinister and I immediately suspected foul-play. Had someone been out hunting? Was it a sacrifice? A warning from the local farmer not to stray into his fields? 

In fact it was a bit of road-kill, retrieved by a Dutch family on their way back from the village of Saint Chartier (where, it seems, the party had been in full swing). It just so happens that they regularly eat road-kill (herbivores only) and so they were delighted when they'd spotted this hare. It was still warm which meant it was fresh and probably good to eat.

They went to La Chatre to buy a decent knife, then set about preparing the meat. First they hung it up, cut an artery, and left it so that the blood could drain. Then they removed the head... the skin...

...then the intestines (carefully, so not to split them)...

...and finally the organs. It was like a biology lesson (or, as Jo my travelling companion and fellow piper put it, a Christmas stocking) and I found it fascinating, not remotely ghoulish. This is the side of food-preparation we never see. It felt important to watch.

"What are those strange white things?" I asked.
"It seems he was a boy."
My biology is a bit rusty.

They butchered the meat and cooked it in wine. Something that otherwise would have gone to waste fed seven people. That's what I call an ethical meal.

I tasted it and it was delicious, dark, rich and gamey. It stirred something in me.

And that night I dreamt of a hollow for a home and that the moonlight jagging across the furrowed fields was a kind of road, urging me to run.

And so I ran.


  1. Definitely good thing to do with roadkill, though if you all hadn't eaten it, the crows and ravens and vultures would have had a feast, too. I'm always glad to find the carrion eaters cleaning up the roadsides for us, keeping us healthy, and recently have come across several huge vultures enjoying road kill. They are such odd and necessary birds... your dream sounds "harey".

  2. What a find! And lucky you to get the lesson in preparation, too. Reminds me of the hare and venison dried sausage that friends made a few years ago. Mmmm...

  3. nice you enjoyed it and had a good archetypical dream afterwards :-)
    we liked what you said 'may the road bless us and provide us a deer next time' :-)
    but .. we must be be careful what we wish for...we might get it - and share- next year ;-)

    See you next SC (and yes, visit the pub!)

  4. Brilliant post!
    We got to take part in the skinning of a road-kill fox the other day... it was a very full on and, as you say, important experience.



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