If you’ve never tasted that little critter, of either the gray or fox variety, you might want to turn in your Ozarks residency card and move to the “actual” Midwest (this isn’t it).

Their giant cornstalks take the place of trees, and you can see a tornado coming for 20 miles.
Or hang on to your Ozarks citizenship and attend the World Champion Squirrel Cook Off on Sept. 10 in Bentonville, Ark. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Bentonville Square. Wild game chefs and camp cooks from across the country will compete for top prizes as they prepare the Ozark tree rat in a variety of ways.

wes-eastern_grey_squirrelBy the by, why don’t people feel the same way about squirrels as they do rats? For what’s a squirrel but a rat with a furry tail? I call them tree rats just to illustrate the point.
Of course, I hate rats, too. I can’t say I have the same aversion to squirrels.
This event is free to the public. You can sample squirrel meat prepared in a number of ways, including squirrel gumbo, squirrel pizza, barbecued squirrel, crockpot squirrel, and fried squirrel, among other squirrel-centered dishes.

Some of the “old-timers” around my corner of the woods like squirrel brains with scrambled eggs. I wonder if that entree will be entered in the contest?

Of course, if you’re already a squirrel aficionado from way back, and you want to enter the cook off, you can do that, too. Two-person teams are $75. Three-person teams are $100.
For more information about the World Champion Squirrel Cookoff, or to sign up, go to squirrelcookoff.com. You can also call organizer Joe Wilson at (479) 866-4342 for details.

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