Rats – on the Menu or in the Kitchen?

It’s really hard to compete…when your co-blogger/mate is taking the lead for today AND he’s writing about cannibalism.

My first inclination was to write about what our grandson Moss is doing this summer in his role as an intern at Exploratorium in San Francisco. But then I thought that describing his dissection of a cow’s eyeballs to the (possible) horror of the young children in attendance might be dicier than our readers want to read about.

Or maybe I should I try to match my co-blogger’s disgusting level – and, perhaps, write about eating rats? I’ve had an article tucked away for a long time about that. I even had a recipe for Ratatouille picked out.

Or should I take the (much) higher road and provide some totally meat-free recipes, inspiring us, one and all, to give up on meat-eating – both human and non-human flesh?

There’s a fascinating article from 2016, published in PubMedCentral from the National Institute of Health. It’s about eating rats. The title? “Rodent meat – a sustainable way to feed the world?” Grant Singleton, an expert on “rodent biology” is quoted as saying “The planet cannot sustain the projected growth in demand for meat protein nor the harvesting of bush meat in forests. They are a pest, but instead of fighting rats as a pest we could welcome them as game.” (An aside: my neighbor and I were just discussing the huge chunks being taken out of our gardens’ tomatoes. Maybe we need to catch the culprits…we suspect rats…and make a meal of them! You’re right – it could be squirrels, but isn’t a squirrel just a rat with a fancy tail?)

Maybe a rat?

And just so you know, Westerners are somewhat unique in their distaste and disgust for rat meat. According to the same NIH article, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, parts of the Philippines and Indonesia, Thailand, Ghana, China, Vietnam, and South and Central America all include rats as part of their diet, often actually farming them. An article from the BBC states that parts of Africa have a long tradition of eating rats, especially Nigeria.

But I’m taking the high road here. A few photos of cooked rats left me with the typical Western response: YUCK! So just dispose of any rats you may catch in the kitchen – or invest in a good, hungry cat. And help the world and yourself out by cutting back on flesh – be it human (hahaha – see today’s main blog) or rat or the more readily available cuts you’ll find at your local market. To help out, here are two tasty meatless recipes to add to your meat-free repertoire.

Dal Palak – Lentils and Spinach

Dal Palak (Lentils and Spinach)

Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 1 c red lentils
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2-3 T lime juice (divided)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Diamond kosher salt (divided)
  • 2 T ghee (or butter); substitute oil if making this vegan
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds (brown mustard seeds work as well; add a bit more)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp chile powder (I used Kashmiri, but cayenne will work) – optional
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 3-4 c baby spinach
  • chopped cilantro and lime wedges for serving 
  • rice for serving

Rinse the lentils, then transfer to a medium saucepan and add 3 c water.  Bring to a boil; skim some of the foam off, stir in the turmeric, reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer until tender (15+ minutes).  Remove from the heat and add 1 T lime juice and 1 tsp salt.

While the lentils cook, melt the ghee in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds and cook just until the mustard seeds start to pop; reduce the heat to medium.  Stir in the chile powder and onion and cook until the onion is translucent – about 4-5 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and stir and fry another minute or so.  Add the spinach and the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and cook just until the spinach is wilted – about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining tablespoon of lime juice – or a little more, to taste.

Gently mix the seasoned spinach and onion into the lentils.  Serve in bowls with rice on one side, lime wedges, and topped with cilantro.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Curry

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Curry

Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food

  • 1 1/2 lbs eggplant, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes (it would be lovely to have Indian eggplant – but globe or Chinese or Japanese eggplant will be fine; do not peel unless you’re using a really “mature” eggplant
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 c of canned, diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 c of coconut milk
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 c cilantro, roughly chopped
  • rice for serving

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss the chunks of eggplant with 2T olive oil and salt and spread onto a sheet pan.  Roast for about 20 minutes – or until the eggplant is soft.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a large saucepan and cook and stir the onions over medium heat until soft – about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and spices and cook and stir for another minute or so.

Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and roasted eggplant to the onions.  Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.  Stir in the sugar and most of the cilantro and remove from the heat.

Serve in a bowl with rice to one side.  Scatter with the remaining cilantro. 

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.


  1. Marilyn Carlson says:

    I have just had to remove all remaining fruit (about 30+ lemons) on my Meyer lemon tree because some critter is eating all the peels and leaving the fruit. ( I need to be more nocturnal to find out what critter it is…..same one who ate the fruit and left the peel hanging on the nearby orange tree?


  2. Bob Carleton says:

    When prepping for our first visit to Thailand we were advised to avoid eating at street-vendor stalls serving fresh deep-fried rat. We managed to comply.


  3. Janet says:

    In the sixties, my friend spent a summer in Africa where she enjoyed the hot-meat-on-a-stick sold by a street vendor. Toward the end of the summer, she asked the man what kind of meat he was selling and he replied “moose meat” [mouse].


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