Thursday, April 17, 2014
O is for Opossum
It is not the same as a possum, which is a marsupial native to Australia. It is a marsupial, however, and the only marsupial in the Americas. Opossums do have semi-prehensile tails, but not nearly prehensile enough to hang from a branch like they do in Disney movies. They also do "play possum," and their act is much more convincing than you may have thought. When hissing and baring its teeth don't do the trick, the opossum not only goes completely immobile - in a creepily realistic impression of rigor mortis - it excretes a green fluid from its anus that smells like rotting flesh.
Opossum is edible, if you're hungry enough, but bear in mind it will poop itself with green slime somewhere along the way. According to the Joy of Cooking, the opossum should be caged for ten days and fed on milk and cereal. Then it should be cleaned but not skinned; Joy of Cooking is very specific on this part. Then put it in simmering water until the hair plucks out easily, and then scrape off the skin.
Remove the small red glands from under the legs and shoulder blades. Parblanch for about twenty minutes, then roast as you would for rabbit.
On second thought, don't bother.