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Exquisite Mice Recipes for Beginners :)

To a lot of people, cooking and eating mice is unthinkable. But in some portions of the world, mice make up an important role in their native delicacies. In fact, in North America, people eat rat because of their nutritional value (being rich in protein), while in some parts of Paris, mice are eaten because they taste like a crossbreed between chicken and pork. And yet, to the rest of the world, mice have become a stable source of meat that can be cooked in many different ways. Some restaurants even have mice in their menus. Thus, no matter how unthinkable it may seem to you, mice cooking and eating is actually an old practice and many people are so into it ever since.

The common house mouse has been very popular in West Africa that about 50% of all the locally produced meat there mouse or rat meat. To be exact with numbers, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, more than 250 thousand pounds of mouse and rat meat are sold in the market of Accra alone. So, here are some of the recipes that are quite popular among the mice-eating people:

Grilled Mouse Bordeaux

The other name of this recipe, "Entrecote a la bordelaise", sounds like any other classy food you can get from a high-class restaurant. Well, in fact, this mouse meat recipe is served in popular restaurants in Paris! The skin of the mouse is removed before it is eviscerated and glazed with an exquisite sauce made from a mixture of olive oil, some shallots and other spices. The meat is then grilled over a fire made from old and broken wooden wine barrels.

Mouse Stew

Just like the meat in the Mouse Bordeaux, the mouse is also skinned and eviscerated when cooking Mouse Stew. The mouse's body is then split into two from the neck down to the tail bone and then battered with a mixture of butter, peanut oil and some spices. The battered meat is then deep-fried until it turns golden brown. The fried mouse meat will then be covered with an elegant sauce mixed from water, fresh tomatoes, red peppers and some other spices. For the meat to absorb the taste of the sauce, the entire dish is simmered for a couple of minutes and then served hot with rice.

Stuffed Mouse Dormice

The mouse is skinned and eviscerated; head, tail and feet removed. The stuffing is made from ground meat (can be mouse meat, pork, beef or chicken) mixed with pine nuts, garum or anchovy paste, asafoetida, homemade broth and other spices. The mouse is stuffed with the stuffing and then sewn properly before it is cooked in the oven for a prescribed length of time.

Roasted Mice

The best mice to use for this recipe are the field mice primarily because of their meat is not as tender as that of a house mouse, thus it is very fitting for a roasting recipe. The mice is skinned and eviscerated before it is skewered and roasted over hot coals. This recipe is best eaten with Margarita.

Creamed Mouse

Just like all other recipes, the mouse should be cleaned out of the head, feet and tail. It should be skinned too and the rest of the internal organs should be removed. The meat is then marinated in a pot of a mixture of ethyl alcohol and some spices. After marinating for at least 2 hours, the meat should be dredge into a batter mixture consisting of flour, salt, pepper and some spices. The battered meat is then fried under a low fire for about 5 minutes before another cup of alcohol is added into the pan. Along with the alcohol, about 8 cloves of garlic are also added. The mixture is to be simmered for another 15 minutes before it is transferred to a pan of cream sauce. The meat is sautéed for another 10 minutes before it becomes ready for serving.

Mouse Enchiladas

The mouse should be skinned and eviscerated before it becomes fit for cooking. In this specific recipe, the mouse is cooked in a regular enchilada sauce made from chillis mixed with liquor. Chile skin is supposed to be separated from chilli meat before it is mixed with the liquor and some fried onions. The tortillas are to be filled with the mouse meat mixed with the enchiladas sauce, rolled and then baked for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

You see, there are so many other great-tasting mouse dishes out there that are not mentioned in this article. Although it is really quite ironic how such wonderful dishes were derived from an animal most people consider as pest, still one truth remains, the people behind these recipes are really able to bring out another dimension of the mice. They may not be as main stream as chicken, beef and pork, but with all honesty, people who were able to eat game and veal can be outnumbered by those who have already tasted mouse meat at least once in their lifetimes.

We can't really say which cuisine is exotic or not simply because we do not eat certain kinds of foods. To some places, the normal food that we are eating may be categorized as exotic and the foods that we consider exotic might be categorized as normal to them. This diversity in taste and preference is what makes the different cuisines around the world unique.

Of course, I am not encouraging you to feed on the mouse that you see in your house simply for the purpose of establishing that a new predator (that's you) has just emerged in their habitat (that's your house). There are some findings too that suggest that improper preparation can also cause food poisoning. The preparation of mouse meat may not be as easy as you think, so if ever you are enticed to taste mouse meat one of these days, better go to a restaurant instead and just enjoy your experience without having to worry about other things.

All the best,
Sergiu Zburatoru

Factors Affecting Mouse Infestation

It was epic when Australia faced a very serious mouse infestation problem that lasted for more than two years several years ago. While it is quite normal for grain-growing areas to have serious problems with mice, what happened to Australia that time is by far the worse mouse infestation problem ever recorded in human history. On average, those who study mouse behavior say that serious infestations can happen once in every 4-10 years with each incident lasting for up to 2 straight years. The infestation usually follows after a very high-yielding cropping season.

Apart from the increased productivity of the land, mouse population outbreaks are also triggered by any of the following:

1. When the farming practice in a specific land in routinely changed to ensure continued productivity of different kinds of crops. In context of farming, crop rotation is often a good practice because it allows the land to breathe and increase its nutrient content. However, mice are also drawn into the farms because there is a continuous supply of food for them in these places by virtue of crop rotation.

2. When the farm is left undisturbed for a reasonably long time. Sometimes, because of good quality seeds and climate, farmers no longer till as often as they normally would. When cultivation is least, mice can freely roam around the farmlands without fear of being disturbed by human presence. Thus, they can reproduce without constraints.

3. Apart from humans, animals that graze can also scare away mice. However, when the grazing in the farm is reduced due to certain reasons, then again, mice would be able to roam around the farm without any fear whatsoever.

Farmers are already aware that each time they improve their farming practice in order to increase productivity; they are also opening bigger doors for mice infestation to occur. Over the years, this has been an acceptable trade-off. However, this supposed balance between increased income and increased damage is always compromised each time the infestation lasts longer that it ought to be or when the number of mice infesting exceeds what has been expected, something which can result to incalculable damages.

The possible reasons why a mouse infestation can last more than the average two-year duration are:

1. The breeding season of mice is extended. This happens when the mice start to breed early and ends the season late. A little discrepancy in the number of days mice breed is already sufficient to increase their population beyond what is expected.

2. Sometimes, when food remains plentiful even after two years of infesting, mice will opt to stay and feed some more. It is instinctive for mice to stay in a place where they are well-provided for and a farm with a lot of produce is the most ideal place for them.

3. Oftentimes, when an infestation occurs, farmers will also try to hunt down mice and chase them out of the farm although they know that the infestation will not ward off just like that. However, this procedure can greatly reduce the number of mice in an area. Thus, an extended infestation can be a result of the presence of a good nesting site. If the nesting site of the mice are well-hidden from farmers, their reproduction will be least disturbed.

4. Another huge factor that helps in mouse infestation control is the presence of natural predators. When the predators are severely outnumbered by the mice, then definitely, they will contribute so little in the control of these pests.

5. Mice population is also reduced in the two-year infestation period because of diseases and parasites. However, in the absence of these two, there is a high chance for mice to thrive longer than two years.

How About Plagues Caused by Mice?

It should be clear that mice are least likely to spread plagues because the only time this becomes possible is when their population reaches at least a thousand mice in a hectare of land. This is quite impossible to reach because at 100 mice per hectare, tremendous damage can already occur. Thus, food supply will not permit mice to reach the 1000 per hectare quota. Therefore, when it comes to mouse infestation, the real issue is not in human health or anything else, it is really more about crop damage.

So, what are these damages that we are talking about?

Mice like to eat what humans also love to eat. In most cases, they tend to damage cropping areas that produce cereals, maize, legumes, sorghum and pulses. They also like the vegetables that humans are so in need of. Examples of such are:

a) Peas, beans and other high-protein vegetables
b) Zucchini and other delicious green veggies
c) Tomatoes
d) Eggplants
e) Melons and the fruits of crawly veggies

It is easy to spot a damage caused by a mouse. Since these pests are nibbling rodents, they usually leave obvious tracks behind them. Examples of such evidences are: a chewed leaf (you will know when a leaf is chewed when you see one), seeds with missing heads (mice always prefer eating the head part) and some bits and pieces of farm produce just scattered around.

In general, because mice love to nibble, they usually attack portions of the crop that are easiest to chew. These portions are the flowering node of the crop and the maturing heads of the seeds which are exposed. Since the crop flowers and seeds are both fundamental to crop productivity, the damages that mice can cause to them can result to a pre-harvest loss amounting to about 50% of the supposed harvest.

Thus, whenever mice attack during pre-harvest, farmers usually use zinc-phosphide baits in order to control their population. Farmers also place baits around their barns in order to discourage mice from entering the place. Nevertheless, these practices have been always insufficient in completely exterminating mice infesting in a farm. The most that control methods can do is to prevent mice population from growing too big since the size of the population is directly related to the total amount of damage.

All the best,
Sergiu Zburatoru
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