This blog is much enhanced with the accompanying mood music.
In parts of southeastern Ohio, down to West Virginia and Kentucky, they have a lot of recipes for squirrel. The thought of cooking and eating squirrel doesn't sound very appetizing to me. However, according to SeriousEats.com, squirrel meat is becoming very haute cuisine.
Yesterday, I threw in a load of towels and went about cleaning the house. I was in the living room and smelled something much like burning eggs in a frying pan. I know this smell well...my husband and my youngest daughter get a bit crazy cooking eggs on Saturday mornings. Sometimes in their hunger to eat their creations, they put the skillet right back on the still-hot burner and the unpleasant aroma of burning omelet pervades the house. I wrinkled up my nose, but didn't think too much of it as it didn't last too long. Odd snack to be making after I had made a pork roast with onions and apples, but hey...I'm not going to be the diet watch dog.
Early this afternoon I turned the dishwasher on and went about cleaning the house. Darned if I didn't smell that yukky smell wafting around. Later Jenna was sitting on the sofa nursing Layla and said she smelled it, too. I knew no one was cooking anything, so I had the kids start looking around. Would burning wiring smell that way? I had no idea.
We traced the smell to the bottom of the basement staircase. It did not seem to spread any further back. Odd. It seemed strongest not far from the landing. (When you open the door to the basement there are three steps down, a landing and a door to the outside, then the rest of the flight of stairs. Some duct work passes nearby and the water heater is stationed in this area). I began to suspect that something had gotten into the walls and was dying there. But why wasn't the smell constant? I sent Pat a text message and we went back and forth about it for a while.
By the time I had gotten back from the mall with Rhianna, the smell was pretty much gone. I then wondered if maybe it it was just drifting in from somewhere outside. We patrolled the property looking for stinky things. Found none.
I made eggplant parmigiana for dinner and once again loaded the dishwasher up to clean up the dinner mess. I threw some more laundry in the wash. Erin's friend came by to spend the night and I chatted with her mom for a bit in the kitchen. The dishwasher cycle takes about two hours. About an hour into it, I lugged some laundry out into the living room to fold.
That smell. That horrid smell. It was back. I called Pat. He said his nose was too stuffed to smell it. I said, "Baloney. This will open it for sure, it's THAT bad." I made him wait. "Ugffft," I said, "There is a waft of it again." This time he smelled it. Remembering how I said it was very bad on the basement steps, he headed there.
BINGO. He knew the answer. He tapped the exhaust pipes leading from the water heater to the chimney. One spot was not so hollow sounding. He made me turn off the dishwasher and the washing machine, grabbed some tools and set out to take down that exhaust pipe.
Stuck right in a joint was a small, roasted (or roasting) squirrel. Let me tell you, I don't know if they "taste like chicken" but they sure don't smell like it cooking in an exhaust vent! It smelled like burnt eggs in a skillet. Not quite rotten, but not quite right either. It seems that whenever I turned on anything that used the hot water heater (gas) for any period of time it sent hot exhaust through that pipe, roasting the little furry beast.
Unfortunately, I got a look at his little black, burnt face. It was a young black squirrel, much like this one. And no, I was not inclined to take a picture of all its gruesomeness.
Pat then had to figure out what to do with it. It smell pretty badly once out of the pipe. I think he buried it in one of the trash cans out back. We could quite possibly end up smelling more of him before trash pick up next week.
Now I know that the recipes linked to above aren't for a squirrel still wearing its furry little coat. I'm still not interested. From henceforth, whenever Pat and Erin burn a skillet of eggs, I'm going to wonder: Is it eggs or squirrel?