The other night, I came across one of those television cooking shows as the chef was preparing some fancy outdoor cuisine.
It consisted of a morsel of fish smothered in exotic sauces and topped with a decorative sprig of parsley. To enhance the ambiance, he recommended a sparking Chardonnay, chilled slightly.
That’s not outdoor cuisine.
Outdoor cuisine is a can of Vienna sausages, a pack of saltines and a dill pickle, washed down with a lukewarm Pepsi.
Like most outdoorsmen, I’m a picky eater. I pick up whatever’s handy and eat it.
That has served me well during a half-century of prowling the hinterlands. There’s no room service out there.
I’ve eaten lots of oddities over the years, including a moose burger in the Canadian wilds. The old outfitter who served the moose burgers said if we thought they were good, we ought to try fried beaver tails.
On our Canadian trips, we ate shore lunches – build a fire and toss some fresh-caught walleyes into a hot skillet with onions and potatoes. Scrumptious. I’ve eaten seven-course meals in the Waldorf that couldn’t hold a candelabra to a Canadian shore lunch.
Not all fish-camp meals turned out so well. Once on a camping trip on the Tellico River, buddy Bob Sherborne and I envisioned a trout supper that evening.
There was just one catch. We couldn’t catch any trout.
We substituted a bucket of 2-inch creek chubs, fried crisp and golden as French fries. The chubs beat the drum we once tried to eat. It tasted like the sole of an old tennis shoe, but tougher.
I’ve eaten raccoon and groundhog. Both resembled mutton, a tad greasy. I’ve passed on possum.
I’ve eaten lots of squirrels, which some suggest might explain my behavior.
I’ve had robin breasts roasted on a stick. That’s now against the law, but it was a long time ago, and I assume the statute on eating a robin has expired.
I’ve eaten alligator and shark, but no turtle. I’m told turtle tastes like chicken, but I’ll have to take their word for it. I tried to clean a turtle once, but halfway through, the turtle crawled off, and I lost my appetite.
I’ve eaten lots of quail and doves and hope to eat lots more if quail ever make a comeback.
Frog legs are delicious. Yes, they twitch, but I’ve never had any jump out of the skillet.
I’ve eaten roast duck and smoked goose. I’ve gobbled down countless gobblers.
I used to relish raw oysters but got deathly sick on them one summer in Daytona. I haven’t been able to look an oyster in the eye since.
I ate a roasted grasshopper. The legs scratched going down.
I’ve eaten deer, elk and buffalo, but never tried bear. Davy Crockett said bear was his favorite.
I’ve been meaning to try rattlesnake but, like possum, haven’t quite got around to it.
I hear it tastes like turtle.
Longtime outdoors columnist Larry Woody is a three-time winner of the Tennessee Sports Writer of the Year award and is the author of several books, including “Along for The Ride.” Woody covered NASCAR from the early 1960s until late 2007 in addition to SEC sports, minor league baseball, the Tennessee Titans and the Vanderbilt Commodores.