Shane Walsh: [about eating frog legs] When you get down to that last can of beans, you’re gonna be loving those frog legs, lady. I can see it now… [imitating Lori Grimes] “Shane, do you think I could have a second helping, please? Please? Just one?”
Lori Grimes: Yeah, I doubt that.
Shane Walsh: [to Carl Grimes] Don’t listen to her, man. You and me, we’ll be heroes. We’ll feed these folks Cajun-style Kermit legs.
Lori Grimes: I would rather eat Miss Piggy. Yes, that came out wrong.
Snappy Repertoire from The Walking Dead
Warning: This is not about The Walking Dead but about my addiction to cooking shows, food, and memories involving frog legs. They do taste like chicken.
Not that I’m ever going to prepare Chicken Kiev or Beef Stroganov, but I watch cooking shows allowing The Pioneer Woman to cause Pavlovian responses cooking brisket with cowboy baked beans featuring burnt ends or Giada De Laurentiis preparing anything. Just stand there Giada, just stand there. Another type of Pavlovian response.
My thoughts raced down a pig trail after a conversation with a Northern friend about what we might have eaten at a restaurant had it been named the “Roadkill Café.” Much of our banter centered around squirrels and possums along with my favorite saying, “flatter than a toad frog on a four-lane highway.”
I pointed out that I had grown up “country rich”, never having to resort to roadkill. I admitted to having been permanently scarred for life cleaning fish and turtles, plucking and gutting chickens, skinning squirrels, and slaughtering hogs to supplement the protein requirements of our diets. I feel fortunate my family drew the line at possum. I did occasionally eat frog legs, the subject of this rabbit hole I fell into.
Later in the day, as I looked for a recipe for fried frog legs, I stumbled across a YouTube video featuring one of the Duck Dynasty boys preparing frog legs. I watched it. Fifteen minutes of my life I’ll never get back. I realized frog legs may taste like chicken, but no one ever shows the nasty side…gigging and skinning little green Kermits or wringing little Henny Penny’s neck.
For some reason, the video reminded of a young lady whose bright light had burned out, who asked, “Why do people raise beef? We can go to the supermarket and buy it.” I’m sure there is a logic there that only she understood. I’m also sure one can find pre-skinned frog legs somewhere but somewhere else there is a frog walking on stumps.
I was first introduced to frog legs when I was quite young. An uncle home from college and a couple of cousins had spent the night gigging frogs…and I suspect, participated in activities my grandmother would have frowned upon involving distilled spirits. Still, they were sober enough to deliver a croker sack of frogs to my grandmother who skinned them and prepared them along with grits and eggs for breakfast.
I remember awaking to the smell of something I was unfamiliar with frying. Sautéing frog legs heavily peppered were literally twitching in butter in a big cast iron frying pan. They were twitching, I kid you not.
Did you know that Mary Shelly was inspired by twitching frog legs while writing Frankenstein? Sorta inspired. The frog legs weren’t frying but according to the Smithsonian Magazine, Shelley was inspired by the concept of galvanism—the idea that scientists could use electricity to stimulate or restart life. Galvanism, using an electrical current, would cause frog legs to jump. Feel smarter? I wonder if they fried them afterwards.
The French consider frog legs to be a delicacy, but this, according to differing theories, has nothing to do with calling the French the derogatory term, Frog. It is more likely due to the Frog that was a part of the counter-revolutionary flag flown during the French Revolution. No matter what theory do not call a Frenchman a Frog. It’s not nice.
While I was in college, I went gigging with a couple of fraternity brothers and a chemistry teacher. In a flat bottomed jon boat, armed with gigs and flashlights, we paddled the perimeter of a small lake looking for little green eyes glowing in the reflection of our lights. We would paddle in close, gig the frog, and put him in our own croker sack. We might have partaken of some distilled spirits like my uncle but I’m not sure.
All was grand until a snake crawled into our boat. Instead of using an oar to stun the snake and put him back into the water, one of my frat brothers pulled a concealed pistol and put three bullet holes in the bottom of our boat.
The snake? Perfectly safe and still in the boat under the croker sack. The rest of us? Paddling for dear life to get back to the landing while avoiding the snake before we sank. Since that time, I’ve not gone frog gigging again and have only eaten frog legs on an all you can eat seafood buffet a hundred years ago.
It seemed safer to look online and inquire where I might find some preskinned frog legs. Ten dollars a pound plus shipping? Imported? Geez. I guess that is why they are a delicacy. Well since chicken also tastes like chicken, I think I’ll grill up some wings instead.
An excellent recipe for frog legs or chicken wings https://foodchannel.com/recipes/cajun-fried-frog-leg-recipe
Don Miller’s authors page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR1rEhMYcMA8cZ4B9q3hI4Csq2sS3MBrJdAEpNjnvu1wqcIuf_yHjBO_HtY