My CNET handler called today. He is the man who yanks at the dog lead permanently attached around my throat and croaks: "Write, puppy, write."
My handler said he had been present at last week's Crunchie awards, something to do with giving chocolate bars to fine new Internet companies. And he told me that he heard Google's Marissa Mayer whisper that in these times of infinite woe, more people were googling "recipes" than "restaurants."
The first thought that came into my mind was just one word: raccoon. You see, these brazen, beady-eyed burglars waft around my neighborhood fueled by the desire to eat everything I own. Yes, even my house. And whenever I see them, I wonder what they would taste like barbecued with some roast potatoes and a little broccoli.
Now I discover that raccoon is rapidly becoming the other dark meat. The raccoon apparently had pride of place in the first edition of the Joy Of Cooking in 1931. And here's the good news: you can buy one for between $3 and $7.
With that tiny outlay, one that simultaneously eliminates one of the lower-level civil servants of the animal world, you can feed five people.
Please enjoy these words, printed in the Kansas City Star, from Jeff Beringer, a furbearer resource biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation: "Raccoon meat is some of the healthiest meat you can eat. During grad school, my roommate and I ate 32 'coons one winter. It was all free, and it was really good. If you think about being green and eating organically, raccoon meat is the ultimate organic food."
Yes, those varminty scavengers who try to knock over my trash cans have no steroids, no antibiotics, no growth hormones--just my evil thoughts drifting around their systems.
If you are, by any chance, offered a raccoon by a man in a highway rest area, here's the simple test: Trappers chop only three of the raccoon's four paws off. This is simply to prove that the carcass is not that of a cat or a dog.
Thankfully, when you Google "raccoon recipes," the first one that comes up is from Cooks.com. It is, indeed, barbecued raccoon. And it sounds, I know you'll agree, very tasty.
I feel confident that the minute I post this elegy to one of man's favorite little critters, demand for raccoon cuisine creativity will shoot up. Perhaps there will soon be an edition of Top Chef devoted to the furry one. (Can there possibly be such a thing as rack of raccoon?)
I sincerely hope that Marissa and the other steaming brains at Google are fully prepared for a massive change in America's eating habits.