Is there a rural British rebellion against markets in everything?

by on October 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm in Food and Drink | Permalink

Cats, foxes, badgers, mice or dogs, killed and mangled by tires and left to rot by the side of the road. Most people simply drive past and feel disgust with perhaps a tinge of sorrow. But Arthur Boyt scrapes them up and has them for dinner.

Roadkill eaters devour whatever they find. Boyt, 74, a retired researcher, collects the furry accident victims and takes them to his remote house in the beautiful county of Cornwall in southwestern England, the AFP reports.

Then he gets to work skinning, gutting and, of course, cooking them. Proper preparation is especially important because some of the animals he finds have been dead for a few weeks. You can just pick off the maggots and worms, he says, and still enjoy the meat.

“I’ve eaten stuff which is dark green and stinks — it does appear that if you cook it well, its rottenness does not hinder one’s enjoyment of the animal,” Boyt told the AFP. “It’s not in the taste of the food; it’s in the head. It’s a threshold you have to step over if you’re going to eat this kind of stuff. You say ‘OK, this is just meat.’”

“I have never been ill from eating roadkill,” Boyt notes. “People have been here for a meal and been sick when they got home — but I’m sure that was something else.”

Not from The Onion, rather here is the article from the English-language Der Spiegel.  And I wonder if his marriage counts as an instance of assortative mating or not:

Boyt’s wife, on the other hand, is a vegetarian. So he only cooks roadkill when she goes out. “She goes to see her mother once a week,” he says. “So if she stays the night, it’s a grand opportunity for a big feast.”

dearieme October 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Deer and pheasant are good. We’ve not tried anything else.

Jim Clay October 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I think that if I were married to him I would become a “vegetarian” too.

Spencer October 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm

How is a single individual not trading with anyone a market?

dearieme October 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

The first time we ate roadkill deer it had been killed by a first party and harvested by a second party who, realising how big the animal was, resolved to share it with friends – that’s us, the third party.
That’s a not-market, I think.

With a pheasant though, you scoff it yourselves. And it has the advantage that you don’t have to look out for the lead shot.

Cliff October 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Isn’t that the point?

Andrew' October 2, 2013 at 7:04 pm

He’s married.

Nikki October 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Wait till wife walks in on him roasting a badger.

Andrew' October 2, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Or eating a beaver.

dearieme October 3, 2013 at 5:40 am

Now that there are beavers in Argyll again, that option is open. Either that or you’re indulging in smut.

Andrew' October 3, 2013 at 8:18 am

I have children. When the hell am I going to indulge in smut?

Andrew' October 3, 2013 at 8:19 am

Last night I spent two hours trying to talk a girl into bed.

Toddlers ain’t easy.

Mark Thorson October 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm

That’s what Filburn wanted to know.

Shane M October 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm

For further reading:

The Original Road Kill Cookbook

Rich Berger October 2, 2013 at 7:32 pm

You are the man.

Pshrnk October 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm

They did this story line on Doc Martin….except they got sick.

Chip October 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Though I’m not sure he fully qualifies, eccentrics seem particularly common to Britain (well, more than average). The acceptance and encouragement of eccentricity through the centuries might be a reason for that country’s history of innovation.

Perhaps with the emphasis on history, because today the UK has become plagued by political correctness, conformity and surveillance.

As goes eccentricity so goes the United Kingdom.

david October 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm

The British social elite have always asserted their norms and cultural expectations over the rest of Britain really. If Britain has been tolerant of eccentricity since the Industrial Revolution, it is because its upper class does not fear for its position, either from the monarch’s personal network or from below.

Chip October 2, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Keith Moon, Richard Branson, Anne Widdecombe, Isaac Newton, Alexander Graham Bell etc.

It’s not a class issue, though the eccentricity of the social elite might be the most publicized. I was born in England and return often. There are a lot of lovable nutters.

david October 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm

It’s very much a class issue. Crazy or not, you still need to eat. Either you are an aristocrat yourself, or you have a patron who is one.

Vienna had its own crop of crazy people, but its crazy people were sufficiently crazy to eventually destroy Vienna as it existed in the 19th century. This did not happen in Britain. This is not a coincidence.

Chip October 2, 2013 at 11:22 pm

We’re talking about the propensity of some people to pursue esoteric hobbies, not the destruction of Vienna.

Forgive me, but you sound a little eccentric.

Ray Lopez October 2, 2013 at 11:28 pm

I think the UK’s promotion of patent law–they had one of the world’s first formal patent systems–was more important for driving innovation than eccentricity . When you give incentives for inventions, you’ll get more people inventing that would ordinarily not bother. That’s Econ 101 but it seems to be forgotten with the ‘more commodities for less money’ econ professor crowd. Protectionism works to give you an incentive to do something you would not ordinarily do. That’s why the “infant industry” type of promotion does lead to home grown talent. Do you think it’s an accident Embraer S.A. exists in Brazil? Without some sort of government subsidy (which is what a patent or infant industry tariff or outright government investment is) you’ll not get that. True, you want to limit patents, or infant industry tariffs, or government subsidy, to a set term. For patents it’s 20 years. For industry tariffs it should be while the industry is ‘infant’ (e.g. if Brazil does not produce a home-grown PC company, time to stop subsidizing PCs). For government subsidy it should be until the subsidized entity turns a profit, and quickly.

OK a joke now since you slogged through that: in Vienna, they don’t have any more eccentrics after WWI and WWII due to “survivorship bias”. HA HA HA.

Shane M October 2, 2013 at 11:37 pm

“That’s why the “infant industry” type of promotion does lead to home grown talent.”

Just for a moment I thought I was reading the thread about surrogate moms in India. :-)

mulp October 3, 2013 at 12:12 am

Does consuming road kill add to, or subtract from, GDP?

anon October 3, 2013 at 2:38 am

in what way is road kill not a gross domestic product?

NPW October 3, 2013 at 10:18 am

*hand clap*

msgkings October 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Outstanding, post of the day (at least).

Alan Coffey October 3, 2013 at 7:27 am

Wait, wait! He is opting out of a market. Per current US law that means he can be regulated like a market participant because his non-participation influenced the remaining market. Right? It’s all so very confusing ……

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