Congressman calls dining on raccoon ‘not too bad’

Being a member of Congress doesn’t always mean swanky Washington dinners or cocktail hours filled with caviar and lobster hors d’oeuvres — sometimes it involves feasting on raccoon.

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) learned that as he recently attended his first Gillett Coon Supper in his home state. And when you show up at such an event, especially if you’re a politician, you better be mentally prepared to eat some raccoon, which has been called “the other dark meat.”

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The annual January tradition started during World War II to raise money for a school athletic program. It now draws a crowd each year as a scholarship fundraiser for local students. The online Encyclopedia of Arkansas calls it a “veritable rite of passage for people seeking election to political office.” And the main dish, of course, is none other than the gray critters that, in these parts, are usually found scurrying around in attics or near trashcans outside.

As far as the taste, the wild-game-eating freshman said it was OK, though he stopped short of asking for a doggie bag. In an email, the congressman told ITK, “I did try some of the raccoon and I can tell you that it wasn’t too bad, but I didn’t ask to take any home, either.”

But the raccoon must have a magical draw on whoever dares to eat it, because the lawmaker is already committing to another of the get-togethers, which is usually dominated by Democrats: “I’m planning to attend the Coon Supper again next year, and maybe I can even convince a few more Republicans to join me.”