17 February 2008

As American as apple pie

To some folks, there's nothing like apple pie, backyard barbecue, hot dogs and hamburgers to symbolize good old American cuisine. My vegetarian sensibilities have trouble with some of this, of course, but I am willing to accept them as part of our national culture. Some of my best friends do, after all, suffer from burger breath.

Much has been made lately of presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee's predilection toward collegiate squirrel-eating. Debates, jokes - and even a few recipes- have been added to the public verbal fray. One of the more recent entries into the dialectic is posted below, and was written to the Boston Globe, which posted it on their web site, boston.com

MIKE HUCKABEE, in my opinion an honorable man, has been ridiculed for eating fried squirrel while in college. This is better than smoking dope, swallowing goldfish, or stuffing people in phone booths. There was a time when squirrel was a mainstay in the diets of the Founders, who, at great risk of life and fortune, defended the principles upon which our nation was established.

I come from a part of the country where squirrel was common fare to the family of a hard-working coal miner. I now live in a part of the country where many people still eat squirrel. Some of us also eat rabbit, venison, frog legs, gator tail, catfish, and even a bite or two of rattlesnake every once in a while. We also are willing to defend the principles upon which our beloved nation was founded

I find it interesting that this fellow equates squirrel-consumption with patriotism. I thought our nation's colors were red, white and blue - not gray and red. I am getting a whole new take on civics from this New Englander's letter to the newspaper.

So I will keep this in mind as our nation celebrates Presidents' Day on Monday, a federal holiday on which Americans give thought not just to the men who kept our country strong in years past, but those who, like Huckabee, aspire to lead our nation toward a brighter future.

In Huckabee's case, not so much brighter - but bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

I shudder at the very thought.

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