I always refer to squirrels as American tree rats, because of the damage they do to trees and because they chase our native and much better red squirrels away. They were one of the first American cultural imports, like burgers and baseball caps, that we can well do without!
So to see that Budgens are now selling them in Crouch End is good. As they say in Suffolk, “Make the buggers work!” That was originally said by a farmer and horse-coper called Dick Freeman, when I told him that my business partner and his wife, had been offered a local speciality in Geneva; raw donkey meat. They had been horrified as at the time, as they had had a pet one called Robin. Dick hated donkeys with a passion, as they give worms to horses.
Our housekeeper at Debach was partial to squirrel and told me that young ones were very nice if fried in a little butter.
Remember though, I am of an age, who was brought up when meat was rationed in the 1940s and early 1950s. As rabbit was off coupon and my father had a customer, who could get it, we had quite a few rabbit pies in those days.
I still like rabbit and would try squirrel in a decent restaurant. After all it’s gluten-free isn’t it?
I doubt I’ll ever go again due to my health, but on Salina in the Aeolian Islands, rabbit is the local speciality, as rabbits are wild and plentiful. The rabbit at the Hotel Signum is exquisite. It’s an ambition to go again and a goal to aspire to.