In today’s Austin Chronicle Food section, Anna Toon wrote an article concerning rabbits as food, and how several Austex restaurants are putting rabbit back on the menu. That article of course enraged the bunnypet bunch, who all started bitching about her article. They assert that rabbits were meant to be loving pets and should never be eaten, and wonder out loud, where normal people like me can hear them, what kind of a monster would even suggest such a thing. Those folks kinda got my dander up a little bit. I like eating rabbit, and don't really care what those people think.
Rabbit has been eaten by man ever since he was able to outthink the rabbit, which is no great feat. Rabbits have speed and camouflage going for them, but they are not blessed with superior intellect, their hide is easily peeled from their carcass, and they come in convenient, dinner-sized packages. Rabbits are a favorite foodstuff of pretty much anything that can catch a rabbit, from birds of prey, to any mammal fast or clever enough to subdue the wily beast.
We used to cook rabbit at the Clarksville Café back in the day, and every time we did, the customers would rave about it. It is a very healthy meat, high in protein, and low in fat. It tastes incredibly delicious when marinated and then braised, but if you don’t cook it correctly, it can end up a little on the tough side. My only complaint at the time was that rabbit cost too much for me to make much money on it, unless I charged what I thought was an excessive price. You were paying for a lot of bone weight, and you could get two good servings out of a carcass. The other thing is that rabbits can be kind of a pain to prep, because of the bones. The price per pound was high because there were very few folks raising rabbits back then for the restaurant trade.
Rabbits in Aussieland
Rabbits are eaten by pretty much every civilization worldwide, and have been for thousands and thousands of years. Rabbits are really easy to raise domestically, and they breed like, well, like rabbits. They don’t take up a lot of room, and their manure is ideal for gardening. They can make a disturbing scream when they are dispatched, but that is why the rabbit punch was developed, to rapidly kill the rabbit before he knows what’s coming. As a plus, rabbit fur makes a dandy hat or a pair of gloves.
Rabbit hunter in Australia
Let a few rabbits escape in an area where they have no predators, and they will take over. Back in the day, the old Austin airport runways were overrun with rabbits. Ask the average Australian how he feels about rabbits, and you certainly won’t hear any sympathy for the bunnies taking over that continent. Introduced in 1859, they grew to such numbers that they caused the extinction of native plant and animal species, and led to erosion and siltation of waterways. They out-competed with livestock for graze, and just generally became such a pain in the ass that they built the world's longest fence to try to contain the little peckerwoods. Rabbits still cost the Australian government $600 million annually, even today.
So the bunnypet bunch can bitch all they want to about restaurants serving rabbit, and food writers writing about restaurants serving rabbit, but we all know that if we don’t eat those tricky bunny bastards they will overpopulate and leave us in an ecological wasteland. You don’t want to eat rabbit? Fine, don’t eat any. You start telling me what I can eat, then we got a problem. Personally, I loves me a plateful of bunny. Loves it.
Mick Vann ©