It’s Not Like Chicken

What does squirrel taste like? Most Chowhounds agree that it’s nothing like chicken, although watercress thinks it resembles dark meat chicken. The closest comparison may be wild rabbit—darker, leaner, and more savory than domestic rabbit. Aromatherapy finds a resemblance to marsh hens, also known as mud hens. Most hounds do not find squirrel gamy—the meat has many fans, especially meat from the fox squirrel, a large squirrel prevalent in the Midwest that can easily weigh three pounds. Some even like to eat squirrel brains; unfortunately, this practice may be linked to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Another item of “wild food” that definitely does not taste like chicken is the fiddlehead, the young, tender, curled frond of a fern. These are sometimes available in markets during their very short season. (Unfortunately, ecological concerns, as well as the risk of mistakenly picking poisonous plants, should deter would-be foragers.) They have a strong vegetal taste. Hounds liken them to green beans and asparagus but admit the comparison isn’t exact. The flavor is earthy, green, rustic, and rich. Of course, they’re difficult to prepare, and go bad quickly. “I’ve never understood the allure of fiddleheads,” says embee.

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What does fiddlehead taste like?

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