Desert Living Series
A free meal!

quailWe’ve all heard stories and jokes about folks who eat road kill.  Those of us who live in the suburbs or cities can’t imagine picking up a carcass off of the road and taking it home for dinner.  In Alaska road kill (usually moose or deer) are salvaged and the meat is donated to the poor.  Not a bad idea, especially when moose and deer are hunted and used for their meat.  Does it really matter if they die by car or bullet?  The meat, as long as it is fresh, will taste the same.

Just the other night I was having dinner with some friends from the desert area.  My boyfriend was talking about growing up in the Midwest and how he enjoyed fishing and bird hunting. This conversation caught the interest of my friend’s husband, who also grew up in the Midwest hunting and fishing.  My girlfriend and I just sipped our margaritas as they talked about bird hunting, guns and what types of birds they liked to hunt.

The bird hunting conversation led to a story about a non-hunting Quail experience.   My friend’s husband is a vet and one afternoon he had a ranch call in Anza, a nearby mountain area.  On his way home from work he hit a bird with his truck.  He pulled over to see what kind of bird he hit and discovered it was a Quail.  He pulled out a zip lock bag from the vet pack on his truck and popped the Quail into the bag and placed it in his refrigerated storage unit and headed home.  He was so excited about his road kill that when he arrived home he brought it into the house to show his wife and to see if she would cook it up for dinner.  When she saw the zip lock bag with the dead bird in it she had to hold back her gag reflex. She just could not fathom gutting and cleaning a bird that was road kill or any other animal.   Luckily her sister was in town visiting and she was game to cook the bird, so they cleaned and cooked the Quail for dinner.  I’m not sure if my friend ate any, but her husband really enjoyed the meal.

If the road kill is fresh and edible, why not eat it?  I don’t see myself stopped along the road anytime soon to pick up dinner.  I do, however, think it is a great program that Alaska has set up to use the large animal road kill to feed the poor in their area.  Here in the Coachella Valley is an organization doing something similar.  It is called “Hidden Harvest.” They go out to the local farmers and pick leftover crops and give the vegetables to the poor.  They also get the leftovers from packing plants and take produce that didn’t sell and distribute it to the poor.   There should be more programs that reduce waste and help feed those in need!