In parts of South Jersey, January is the month for Muskrat dinners.
For more than 75 years, the fire company in Lower Alloways Creek, in Salem County has been holding its dinner. Tickets were once so sought after that regulars had to pass away before new people could attend.
In this section of South Jersey, eating muskrat was originally just an outgrowth of the market for furs. Trappers could earn a lot more money selling fur pelts and they would sell the meat just to make a little side money. One of the first things long-time muskrat aficianoados will say is it does not taste like chicken.
Independent radio producer Mary Schilling brings us a taste of this most unusual meal, with photos by Mary Waddington. While it’s still going strong, fewer people are willing to eat muskrat these days and certainly fewer people are out trapping them.
This year’s dinner will be held Saturday, January 25th.