How to Eat Crow

Crow is a tough bird. Crow can sometimes be hard to swallow and it can certainly be embarrassing to eat crow, but there are times when crow is all there is to eat. You just have to make the best of it. Choke it down.

And if there’s one dish that Southerners eat a whole lot of it’s crow. Sometimes we get too big for our britches. That’s when a steady diet of crow can helps us shed a few pounds of pride.

Let’s just say you have a favorite football team. And let’s just say that football team is playing in the biggest rivalry game of the year. Say it’s probably the greatest college rivalry of all time. And maybe you got a little braggadocious and strutted around town in your team colors boasting about how your team would not only win the game, but would handily kick their a-double-slinky-letters in their own blankety-blank stadium. You might have even, hypothetically speaking you understand, hollered “Roll Tide” or something like that at complete strangers wearing another team’s colors.

And let’s just say that your team had their a-double-slinky-letters handed to them on a silver platter.

Well … about the only dish you’ll be able to eat for a while is crow.

Crow is not a comfort food, unfortunately. Quite the opposite. Crow is pretty detestable. But because Southerners are hard-headed and proud, we can choke it down if necessary because everywhere you go for the next year, someone is likely to serve you a big, steaming dish of it. Crow is not best served cold.

Eating crow really comes down to manners. If someone serves you something, even if it is crow, the polite thing to do, the honorable thing to do, is swallow that crow right on down and go about your business. And the person who served it to you should appreciate that you did your mannerly part to grease the social skids by gulping it down (even though the taste is bitter, and vile, and repugnant, and you’d rather eat your own shoe that to have to eat crow again) and not offer you seconds or thirds or a heaping to-go plate of their crow.

While crow is, as I said, not a comfort food per say, you can find a little comfort in it. You see, once you’ve eaten crow for about a year, you’ll be ready to serve it up to all your dearest friends. And let’s just hope they’ll be eating their fair share next year.

Here’s my favorite way to prepare crow based on a recipe from my beloved Southern Sideboards cookbook.

Smothered Crow

Ingredients

  • Salt and pepper
  • 6-8 crows
  • Flour
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1½ cups milk

Directions

  1. After you kill the crows, clean them as quickly as everly you can. Rinse them thoroughly.
  2. Soak in salted water in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. Drain off the water, and salt and pepper your crows.
  4. Roll them in the flour.
  5. Melt the butter in a cast iron dutch oven over medium heat.
  6. Brown the crows all over.
  7. Remove them from the skillet, and add 3 Tbsp of flour to the drippings and brown slightly.
  8. Slowly add in a 1½ cups milk, stirring constantly until it’s thickened into a gravy.
  9. Return the crows to the skillet and spoon the gravy over them. Cover the skillet and simmer on low for 45 minutes.
  10. About every 15 minutes or so, spoon more gravy over the crows. Like I said, crow is tough to get down so we want it to be as tender and palatable as possible.
  11. Serve with rice and biscuits (or a good stiff drink of whiskey, which makes crow a little easier to swallow).
Photo: DickDaniels (http://carolinabirds.org/) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons