The Roadkill Cafe

pheasant-1Last fall Julia came upon a pheasant that had just recently been struck by a car near our house; she’d been wanting to claim one for the feathers ever since we learned they seem to sacrifice themselves en masse on Mullan Road between where we live and Missoula (turns out it’s likely because THIS PLACE is nearby). When she picked it up it was still warm and completely intact. She brought it home, then dressed it and froze the meat. Yesterday it went in the crockpot with some curry and a bunch of other stuff that I generally don’t eat, all served over some wild rice. It was actually pretty damn good. 14 hours later neither of us is any worse for the experience either, so I would have to say our first experiment in eating roadkill was a success. Not that I expect to be carving any backstraps off roadside white tails or anything like that….

When she busted out the wild rice, we did have this conversation:

Julia: This is the official food of your people.

Me: What?

Julia: Wild rice. From the Great Lakes. It’s the official food of the Ojibwa people.

Me: Phhfft.

Julia: You’re saying wild rice isn’t the official food of your people?

Me: I’m saying it is at best the official side dish of my people.


Author: Chris

Chris La Tray is a writer, a walker, and a photographer. He is an enrolled member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and lives in Missoula, MT.

10 thoughts on “The Roadkill Cafe”

  1. Well, I’m glad you put that beautiful creature to use. Your conversation with Julia gave me the first great laugh of the day. When I was about 9, my dad and I “ran over” a pheasant two blocks from our house. Who knows what it was doing there, but since we only knocked it silly I insisted on taking it home and nursing it back to health. Which we did. I think that’s the only pheasant I’ve ever seen. In the “wild,” anyway.

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