Kimmy Sophia Brown

You Dirty Brother, You Killed My Rat

Dec 25, 1995
I read in the paper today that the Netherlands found a unique solution for their pigeon problem. The city of Zwolle is sending about 1400 pigeons (half its pigeon population) to France. The deportation will help eliminate pigeon waste let loose on an unwilling city. The shipment will also help feed the French people because the pigeons are being sent to a pate factory. I am not even going to attempt to comment on how this yummy deal was arranged.

But the news gave me a brilliant idea. I always thought of pigeons as being almost equivalent to flying rats. Maybe the rats of the world could be processed through this same pate factory. The finished product could be called rate.

This processing method could help eliminate some of the world's nasty rodent problem, bringing with it the discovery of a whole new food source!

The big problem with distributing rat or pigeon pate on a wide scale is that frankly, it lacks appeal. The ingredients would have to be lied about, (using misleading wording like processed mousse parts), which is probably illegal. Either that or the manufacturer would have to come up with a brilliant promotional campaign.

People have already promoted dubious products in the past. My dad liked to eat things that came out of a can, like Spam and corned beef hash. I think that some foods born of the depression and the World War II era don't appeal to today's palate as much as they once did. My mom would sometimes ask my dad, "Fen, what would you like for dinner tonight?" and my dad would actually ask for hash by name. "Gee honey, I'm in the mood for hash!" I never once heard my father ask for tofu steaks with miso soup. Not once.

I know that when I'm serving eggs for dinner it means I'm totally out of groceries. And I'll go hungry before I open a can of hash. In fact, I wouldn't even buy a can so that I could have it sitting there to not open.

I must be a snob because I can't bring myself to eat any kind of meat from a can. I can barely stomach tuna fish. I think I have some kind of carried over, repressed memories of soggy tuna fish sandwiches in my lunch bag. Besides, canned meat usually contains "parts." Parts of who? What part?

When I was growing up, the sound of a can of meat being opened with the electric can opener sent our cats dashing for the kitchen counter. The two of them would rub against me and drool before they even knew what kind of mashed internal organs I was serving them. Yecch.

Amazingly, I ended up with a husband who likes canned oysters. He'll actually go to the grocery store and intentionally buy them. He doesn't come home and say, "Gee, how did those get in the bag?"

He ceremoniously eats them as an hors d'oeuvre before dinner. He gets his bottle of mint sauce and then peels open the can revealing what looks like a miserable gang of skinned mice, packed tight like sardines. Sort of a nautical version of rate. He stabs one of the lifeless gray bodies with a fork and offers it to the children. "Wanna bite? Daddy wants to share." They shudder and wrinkle up their noses in disdain.

"You don't know what you're missing," he says. I think my dad said that to me when he gobbled up his hash.

When Peter found out I was going public with my oyster bashing he raised an eyebrow with indignation. "I'll have you know that smoked oysters are a high-class gourmet food. They have nothing in common with corned beef hash." Well, I beg to differ. As my wise old mother always said to me, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." (Or was it, "delicious is in the mouth of the eater?")

Anyway, back to the marketing plan for the rat pate. Contrary to the horrified Dutch animal rights activist who said that the French would eat anything, I don't think they would want rate.

So how could we dispense it?

Perhaps a feline glamour pet food. "Serve your kitty Rate -- the pate for your cate."

How about dishing it up for imprisoned drug dealers or corrupt bureaucrats?

Alternative airline cuisine (for those budget flights)?

Maybe we could send it to die hard communists to serve at their gala events. As one rat to another. Mmmm -- Rate on a Ritz. It has a nice ring to it.

Kim lives in Maine, which is lovely, and where she continues her enthusiastic relationship with Art, Music, Nature, Books, Animals, Humor and Trees.