1954 cookbook: how to cook possum in America

We moved into a new place in Brisbane and the concrete and stucco of vertical intensification are less welcoming to the possum population than the timber of a traditional Queenslander (that’s what they call the houses).

But the possums will figure it out.

The other night about 2:30 a.m. I saw a little one run across the cedar boundary fence. Next day, I spotted it sleeping in the neighboring tree.

They’re coming.

The arrival of my backyard composter will only whet their desire and soon there will be possum crap over everything.

New Zealanders poison possums, Aussies treasure them. Americans eat them.

This recipe comes from 1954’s The American Family Cook Book.

Plunge animal into very hot but not boiling water for 2 minutes.

Pull out or scrape off hair without damaging skin. Slit belly from throat to hind legs. Remove entrails, feet, eyes and brains. Do not remove head or tail.

Wash thoroughly. If possible, freeze for 3 or 4 days. When ready to cook, wipe with a cold, damp cloth. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put in roasting pan. Put in one cup of water and juice of one lemon.

Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 15 minutes, turning once. Cover. Reduce heat and bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Bring your best, possums.

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