Among the assorted oddities that find their way into my neighbors' stomachs while we attend our annual hootenany, this one bears some critical consideration. The snake, a rattler, was chased up by the hounds, captured by Paul, our resident herpetologist, who after a stimulating lecture on the sex life of snakes, handed the beheaded beast to me to clean and cook. Snake itself is not terribly unusual tasting, on the contrary rather mild. This is why the simplest of cooking methods works best. But look closely at what else I found inside. They are eggs. Rattlers bear live young, so these are soft undeveloped eggs. They look like beans. They cook like fresh beans, and perversely enough they are starchy like a bean. If you had handed me one to eat I would have guessed a long and gently cooked Phaseolus. I guess egg yolks are starchy too. Now if commercial sales of rattler becomes a practical reality, I will be able to recommend a real nose to tail approach to crotalophagia, everything but the rattle, as they say.
Food Historian at the University of the Pacific.
Author of Eating Right in the Renaissance, Food in Early Modern Europe, Cooking in Europe 1250-1650, The Banquet, Beans (2008 IACP Jane Grigson Award) and Pancake. A cookbook with Rosanna Nafziger THE LOST ART OF REAL COOKING.
Coeditor of The Lord's Supper with Trudy Eden and Editor of A Cultural History of Food: The Renaissance.
Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia (4 vols.) Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican and Chinese won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Best Foreign Cuisine book in the World. The Routledge International Handbook to Food Studies.
A sequel THE LOST ARTS OF HEARTH AND HOME.
Grow Food, Cook Food, Share Food from Oregon State U Press, a little book on Nuts from Reaktion and The Food History Reader from Bloomsbury. The Most Excellent Book of Cookery (translation of a 16th c. French Cookbook with Tim Tomasik) from Prospect Books. The Food Issues Encyclopedia for Sage. At the Table. Most recently: Noodle Soup: Recipes, Techniques, Obsession!