When Eating Crow Was an American Food Trend


Often, crows were cooked with lard or butter.
Often, crows were cooked with lard or butter.

Unusual trends dominated the 1930s, such as the goldfish-swallowing fad that cropped up on college campuses. But choking down live fish wasn’t so much a snack as it was a novelty. Yet another trend of the time was much more filling, and just as unprecedented: In Tulsa, Oklahoma, residents started eating crows.

At the scholarly site The Recipes Project, Michael Walkden explains that the crow-eating craze can be traced to one man: Dr. T. W. Stallings, a former county health superintendent who was the first to promote eating crow. His reasons were two-fold, according to Walkden: Farmers disliked seeing the birds raid their fields, and Stallings held a deep personal dislike for the birds. At first, Stallings held “crow banquets,” where the secretive main ingredient was masked as quail. He soon managed to turn people into crow-eating aficionados, even after it came to light that the bird in question was indeed crow, and not quail. One of the most outspoken fans was the governor of Oklahoma, who founded the “Statehouse Crow Meat Lovers Association” in response.

Stalling’s recipe consisted of rubbing plucked crows with lard to combat their dryness, cooking them in a sealed cast-iron pan along with celery, and finishing them off with lots of gravy. Three…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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