I love to cook. Lately, I have been doing it a lot. The thing with me and the kitchen though, is that I don’t like to be bothered with a recipe. It just feels like more of an adventure without a recipe.
Most of the time, I do alright. Albeit, there have been occasions when I have failed in epic proportions.
Tonight was pretty good by my measure. I made grilled chicken over this pumpkin puree. It was a little spicy, with sauteed garlic and onions in it. Some crusty bread, and steamed cauliflower and carrots.
Last night I made a spaghetti squash dish, which Mary loved. I always say to her, “Enjoy this one, because I probably won’t be able to repeat it exactly.”
And the adventure continues that way.
A little while ago, I was doing some news reading, and I learned of a food ingredient which I probably won’t be using anytime soon. It is called Castoreum. More commonly known as Beaver Butts. I kid you freaking not.
Here is the low down, on your nearest jar of Beaver Butt. Honestly. Castoreum is a substance secreted by male and female beavers. But only the Beavers from Alaskan, Canadian, and Siberian. I am not sure why this is true. I guess Ohio Beavers are on strike or something.
Anyway, the Castoreum comes from these pouch-like sacs located near the base of the beaver tails (castor is the word for beaver in Latin).
Another minor detail about Beavers. They can’t see or hear very well…. but they have a great sense of smell. This sounds like my little dog Max who is about 140 years old right now.
Back to the Beaver. They have a very keen sense of smell… BUT (no pun intended) , the also smell great! And…. they use their Castoreum to mark their territory. They will squirt the stuff all over the place. …. like on the top of mounds of dirt they construct on the edges of their home turf.
Here’s another funny thing. When they shoot this stuff out, it makes a really loud noise. So loud, you can hear it from several feet away. And then you can hear the Beaver say… “Oh… Pardon Me.” OR…. “Whoopsy.” Beavers also use the fatty, waxy secretion to waterproof their fur.
So that’s the lowdown on the WHAT it is. But one more thing… I am told it smells like a combination of vanilla and raspberry with floral hints. I’ve never been close enough to the dam to catch a whiff.
Historically, it was used frequently. It was sold in drugstores and pharmacies. It was recommended for earaches, toothaches, colic, gout, inducing sleep, preventing sleep, and general strengthening of the brain. That last one was a deal-maker for me.
In the 19th century, it was used in the perfume industry as a fixative to make other scents smell better and last longer.
But when your butt smells THAT good, you are bound to have trouble. It was so widely used that Beavers nearly went extinct. Thankfully, this all fell away, and Beavers are now back on the map. Still smelling great, and still squirting from the yang.
Currently, there are rumors that it used to flavor everything from soft drinks to vanilla ice cream. But in truth, it is rarely used these days. The process is way too expensive. One of the few places it’s reliably found is the Swedish schnapps BVR HJT. Bottoms up.
So yeah. Beaver Butts.
I know I’ve started a trend here. I can hear it in kitchens across America. “Mom, what’s for dessert?” “Vanilla ice cream topped with Beaver Butt Squirts.”
Don’t call me late for dinner.
On second thought…. just don’t call me for dinner.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
”Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure” – Bob Bitchin