One of my English learning students from France opened up our conversation with the question “Have you ever ate a snake?” Now I’ve been around for 56 years, but it didn’t take too long to check through the memory files and get back to him on that one.
“Uh, can’t say that I have.”
“Would you like to know how to cook one?” he quickly added. I glanced at the clock to see how much longer we had in the lesson, and seeing that only 30 seconds had elapsed, I could tell that this was going to be 30 minutes of my life I was never going to get back again.
“Sure” I fired back, somewhat short in the enthusiasm department, “Go ahead,” all the time wondering why anyone who lives in a country with ready access to Pop Tarts would want to eat a snake.
I mentally couldn’t get past the picture he painted by telling me that you had to boil the snake first like a lobster, before adding garlic and parsley and baking it at 325 degrees for fifteen minutes.
“Bet it tastes like chicken” I weakly added. Of course, since this was an English lesson, I had to tell him that “Have you ever ate a snake?” was bad English, unless you live in the part of the country where they actually eat snakes. Afterwards, I decided to be a little more adventurous and look up on the Internet to see how we prepare your basic reptile dish here in the good old U. S. of A. It turns out it does taste like chicken. And there are several websites that are devoted to providing a myriad of mouth-watering recipes.
Step one in the process is – “Acquiring a dead snake”. I assume this is the hard part. The snake used in this instructional piece was a three-foot long “Black Rat Snake “, (which conjures up two succulent tastes in one) that had just been hit by a car. The author noted that “its heart was still beating.” This must be the equivalent of checking the freshness date on a box of donuts. The instructions didn’t note if he tried applying a little mouth-to-mouth in an attempt to resuscitate the poor creature.
The main ingredients in this recipe were listed as:
1 dead snake (If you can’t kill it yourself, shopping at the roadside supermarket is the next best thing.)
1 box of Jiffy Cornbread mix (I like where this is going)
Pepper. I’m guessing lots of pepper.
Now, before you put together this delicious concoction you have to know how to skin and clean a dead snake. I swear the next two steps were to “find the snake’s anal vent” and “check the tread marks.” At this point I knew that I would never get to the Jiffy Cornbread stage.
It brought back to mind my days as a Holy Roller when I read about churches that used actual live, poisonous snakes in their worship services. We were big into faith at the time, but using a rattlesnake as a musical instrument never appealed to me. Now, after reading about people eating these things, it makes me wonder; I bet their church dinners were a lot more exciting than ours.
“What’s that in the Jello Ruth?”
“Oh, just a little fruit and water moccasin mixture I threw together. It tastes like chicken.”
Pass the Pop Tarts.