The New Gourmet: Recipes for Varmint

We break from our regularly scheduled programming to let you know that the new Gourmet website is reaching further back into the magazine's fabled archives and bringing forth... varmints?

The Gourmet website republished a selection of recipes from their back issues to show what their readers in the 40's, 50's, and 60's did with woodchucks and wild hare. They do stipulate that these recipes have not been retested; they are more cultural artifact than dinner tonight.

We were especially taken with the instructions for Braised Beaver, originally published October 1950:

First trap your beaver. Then…

Skin and clean a young beaver, removing the kernels from the small of the back and under each foreleg between the ribs and shoulders. Hang it outdoors for several chilly nights.

Roast Raccoon, Creamed Woodchucked, and Squirrel in Cider follow along.

We're curious, though - is Gourmet making light of recipes that were once quite tongue-in-cheek? Or perhaps we should actually take them a little more seriously. Given Mark Bittman's recent piece in the Times maybe we should all look for more natural sources of meat.

A side note: Gourmet did dress up these recipes with new photos by Catherine Ledner, whom we recently featured on our New York site.

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.