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Skin
October 26, 2006 9:05 AM   Subscribe

"In a close-knit Chesapeake Bay community, the world’s fastest muskrat skinners face off in a truly cutthroat competition at the National Outdoor Show. One lucky young lady gets to be their queen." [Warning: Fiddle tunes!] Muskrat Lovely, a documentary about the conflation of the world muskrat-skinning championships with the Miss Outdoors beauty competition. The film will air soon on the PBS program Independent Lens. Catch some of the brackish flavor of the Chesapeake Bay's traditional regional culture, including some muskrat recipes and skinning tips.. And don't miss the link to Everything Muskrat.
posted by Miko (21 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Suddenly I feel like nibblin' on bacon and chewin' on some cheese.
posted by sourwookie at 9:14 AM on October 26, 2006


This might be the most perfectly constructed FPP of the year.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:14 AM on October 26, 2006


Cutthroat, indeed.

In all seriousness, they might begin with a cut right down the center of the belly, starting at the throat.
posted by illovich at 9:15 AM on October 26, 2006


muskrat love
posted by edgeways at 9:24 AM on October 26, 2006


Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is a geographically huge chunk of wetland/swamp on Maryland's Eastern Shore - very few people live there or visit. It doesn't even have a Wikipedia article. It's my home state and I've only been there once - it's like another country.
posted by stbalbach at 9:37 AM on October 26, 2006


Heh... my folks live about 15 minutes from Dorchester, though they prefer the Maryland Sheep + Wool Festival to muskrat skinning. Ahh, Maryland, my Maryland!
posted by fet at 9:39 AM on October 26, 2006


I've skinned muskrats before. Not much to it--you make a few cuts (taking care to cut out the musk glands) and yank the whole pelt off, just like skinning a rabbit.

As a boy, my grandfather trapped muskrat to supplement his farm family's income during the Depression. He continued on with it until the late '80's, when his arthritis made it too difficult to check his trap-line every day.

I've also eaten muskrat stew. it was disgusting.
posted by Chrischris at 9:39 AM on October 26, 2006


Muskrat Lovely, a documentary about the conflation of the world muskrat-skinning championships with the Miss Outdoors beauty competition. The film will air soon on the PBS program Independent Lens.

*sound of MeFite heads asploding all around the world*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:52 AM on October 26, 2006


All Hail Queen Muskrat Skin!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:01 AM on October 26, 2006


This makes me miss my home state of Maryland terribly. I've never been to Dorchester county except to drive through it on the way to Ocean City, although I have spent some time just across the Bay in Calvert County. Southern Maryland is one of those places, as stbalbach said, that's kind of like another country, but it's still awesome because we all share the usefulness and beauty of the Cheapeake Bay.
posted by sarahnade at 10:02 AM on October 26, 2006


MetaFilter: Warning: Fiddle tunes!
posted by jimmythefish at 11:22 AM on October 26, 2006


And they shimmy
And Sammy's so skinny
posted by Megafly at 11:38 AM on October 26, 2006


Since regulations say each hide must have at least one eye and a nose attached, you start with the delicate face work first.
posted by zoinks at 12:01 PM on October 26, 2006


Skinner Bill: "It rubs the musk on it's skin."

Muskrat Sam (down in basement): "Look Mister, my girlfriend, Suzy, is back in the burrow waiting for me"

Skinner Bill: "It does this when ever it is told."

Muskrat Sam: "Look, Suzy and I, we whirl and we twirl and we tango, some... sometimes we sing and jingin the jango...
Floatin like the heavens above... I wanna see my Suzy!"

Skinner Bill: "Now it places the musk in the basket... PUT THE FUCKING MUSK IN THE BASKET!"
posted by tkchrist at 1:33 PM on October 26, 2006


Great.fucking.post.
posted by dead_ at 1:40 PM on October 26, 2006


Heh. "Cutthroat."
posted by cgc373 at 2:32 PM on October 26, 2006


From the Everything Muskrat site:
If you have too many muskrats, you may need to control them. If you don't have enough, you need to conserve what you have and encourage growth in the population. In the middle is the happy medium where you just enough muskrats and can just enjoy them.
posted by exogenous at 4:03 PM on October 26, 2006


It doesn't even have a Wikipedia article. — The new definition of Hicksville.
posted by spock at 4:40 PM on October 26, 2006


Muskrat. The other white meat.
posted by spock at 4:41 PM on October 26, 2006


"Nellie Flowers, a seventy-five-year-old Cambridge native is known locally as the queen of this event. “My grandma fixed muskrat with the head and teeth still on the animal, but I don’t do that,” she says. While Flowers doesn’t follow an exact recipe, she says the following instructions should be a close approximation."

Nellie Flowers' Stewed Muskrat

Serves 4-6

1 muskrat, skinned and cut into pieces
water to cover
2 teaspoons sage
2 onions, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place ingredients in large pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer and cook for an hour or until meat is tender. Cut into pieces and serve in a bowl with some of the broth. Serve with bread to mop up the juices.

Note: Nellie’s son and grandson provide her with the main ingredient, which is difficult to find without going into the woods on a muskrat hunt.

posted by spock at 4:54 PM on October 26, 2006


This is an awesome post.

For some reason, I was afraid "Muskrat Lovely" was going to be a sequel to "Coyote Ugly." Thank god I was wrong.
posted by koeselitz at 5:43 PM on October 26, 2006


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