|GATOR SPRINGS GAZETTE|
a literary journal of the fictional persuasion
WHOLE-ROASTED GOURMET GATOR
Chef Etienne Gizzard
Stake out large chicken, small goat or neighbor’s pesky cat near a swamp and watch for your gator from the gun turret of WWII vintage tank. Open fire when gator appears. Wait ten hours after gator stops twitching, then send your least favorite relative to make sure he is really dead. Tenderize dead gator by driving tank caterpillars over corpse lengthwise, crosswise and on the diagonal. Send next least favorite relative to see if he is still dead. Blast him again to be sure and to give meat that saltpeter and smoke flavor. Send most obnoxious in-law to bind jaws with 100 meters of steel-reinforced duct tape.
Meanwhile, prepare fire for roasting. Chop down fifty mature cypress trees and arrange in teepee pattern over a stack of abandoned tires. Soak with 100 gallons premium moonshine. Use industrial push-broom to baste gator with mixture of 10 gallons banana oil, 1 bushel crushed chicory root, and six dozen pureed oranges (include peels and seeds). Attach crane cable to gator’s jaws (any surviving relative can do this) and hoist gator over teepee. Light with flame-thrower. If tail thrashes, your gator is not yet dead. Haul him down and send Grandma with her great-granddaddy’s buck knife to finally do the job right.
When gator is truly dead and suspended over fire, continue roasting for three days, adding cypress trees as needed and basting every eight hours and 13 minutes. Halfway through, cover tail with aluminum sheet metal (an old 727 fuselage is ideal) to prevent overcooking. Remove roasted gator to flatbed truck and transport to sawmill for slicing. (Wood pulp will help retain juices.) Place individual portions on plates and microwave each ten minutes till meat is gray and curling at edges. Smother with catsup and—voilà!
Side Dish: GRANNY’S GREEN GAMBLE
Cut the top off a palmetto palm and remove the heart. Shred with a machete. Top with nettle leaves boiled no more than six minutes to preserve the plant’s piquant sting. Scrape rock tripe off north face of boulder and wash to remove grit, but do not soak too long or bitter flavor will be lost. Crumble tripe over greens for dry, crunchy texture. Garnish with raw palmetto fruit, after first drilling out the seeds. Drizzle with pressed dandelion juice, then dare anybody to eat it. (So far, Granny is the only one that’s tried it. She did die smiling.)
© Mo Walsh
“Chef Etienne Gizzard” is the pan (sic) name of Maureen Walsh, who alleviates the boredom of newspaper writing and caring for three teenage sons, a beagle and an impossibly perfect husband by cooking up short stories, unfinished novels, doggerel verse and tongue à la chic.
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