Sunday, August 12, 2012
There's a mouse in the house !
Flagstaff, Arizona sits in the middle of Coconino National Forest, one of six National Forests in Arizona. At just under 2.000,000 acres, it is the largest Ponderosa pine forest in the entire world.
The fragrant and towering trees provide spectacular scenery, and shelter to a wide variety of animals. Apart from coyotes, elk, fox, and bears, the forest also provides shelter to numerous smaller critters.
A few weeks ago, one of those mice scooted across our kitchen floor, quickly scampering from the bottom of the refrigerator to the bottom of the dishwasher. A week later, the same mouse scampered from the bookcase in the living room to the area under the hutch.
Now what do we do?
Since we simply wanted to move the little guy back outside without harming him, I bought some sticky mouse traps at the local Family Dollar store, and set them out at various locations throughout the house.
I went back to Family Dollar again a week or so ago and bought four more “traditional” mouse traps, and again set them out at various locations inside and outside the house.
A few days later, I was reading the morning newspapers on my computer when I heard a shriek from the kitchen. The trap that I had set in the pantry had done its job, and a long tail was protruding out from under the wire rack we use for storing various food items.
The broom and dustpan made the intruder disappear, but the incident got me thinking.
Who was the first person to invent the mousetrap?
Admittedly, it’s not the kind of question that’s going to come up at cocktail parties, but if you REALLY want to know the answer, I’ll tell you.
William C Hooker, of Abingdon, Illinois, received the first patent for a mousetrap in 1894. Since that time, patents have been issued for variations of the original design, including a recent version that uses electricity.
Although the mice that are caught in traps are usually discarded into the trash, you may be interested to know many societies throughout the world use them as FOOD, and have since at least since the time of Ancient Rome. In addition to mice, their larger cousins (rats) are also consumed on a fairly regular basis. In fact, rats comprise over 50% of the locally produced “meat” in West Africa.
Although rats can vary in size, the largest one that I’ve ever seen was found on 16th Street in Chicago.
If you’re feeling brave, you may want to try some of the recipes listed below:
Mice in cream (Souris a la crème)
Contrary to what you might think, there aren’t any rats in ratatouille, unless you’re talking about the delightful movie that Disney and Pixar Animated Studios released in 2007.
Ratatouille originally came from a couple of areas in southern France, and normally consists of a variety of vegetables cooked together. Because the dish is low in fat and calories, but high in nutrients, it is popular with dieters.
I’ve prepared the recipe posted below more than once, and found it to be very satisfying.
Incidentally, since it’s always good to close with a tune, I’ll leave you with one that you are very familiar with.
Three blind mice