Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Down Memory Lane: Squirrel By Any Other Name Is . . . Chicken?

Posted on Apr 15, 2015 by Lisa Ricard Claro   12 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized


Hello y’all – I’m taking a bit of a trip down Memory Lane today, and hope you don’t mind coming with me. The post below was originally published here in 2009. I remembered it today while sitting at the kitchen window watching the squirrels race around outside. This details a conversation I had with my father-in-law, who passed away several years ago. I still miss him every day. He was something of a character, as you will see.


My father-in-law, known as Papa and adored by all who know him, is a terrific cook. When he moved in several years ago, I was delighted to hand over the Golden Spatula and let him have at it. He cooks for us almost every night, and we enjoy meals ranging from Tomato Basil Shrimp to Pork Medallions with Curry Sauce. Yeah, we’re spoiled. We’re also gaining weight, but that’s another story.

Over the course of the last few years some of the recipe names have been changed to make them sound more like comfort foods. For instance, Chicken St. Thomas became Chicken with ‘Shrooms & Cheese. Getting in the spirit of things, Papa created Redneck Wellington, which is Beef Wellington with ground beef (think meatloaf) instead of filet mignon. Papa cackles every time he thinks about it, and Papa cackling is always a good thing.

As I passed by Papa’s room this evening I heard the TV. Papa was watching a cooking show. The chef was preparing—gulp!—Chicken Fried Squirrel. Maybe, I thought, this Redneck stuff was getting a little out of hand. Maybe, you know, Papa was going off the deep end.

I stuck my head into his room and waved. “Hey there,” I said. “Is that guy serious? Chicken Fried Squirrel? You aren’t thinking about . . . you know?”

Chicken Fried Squirrel.” He nodded. “You deep fry it, just like chicken.”

“I don’t think that would go over very well,” I said, trying to be diplomatic.

“Really? Okay. We’ll call it Redneck Chicken instead,” he suggested, straight-faced. “Serve it up with a little cream gravy and a side salad.”

“You’re a funny guy.”

“Just watch me laugh the next time we eat chicken,” he deadpanned.

“I’ll revoke your kitchen privileges,” I threatened.

“Avgolemono soup and shrimp salad is on the menu tomorrow night,” he reminded me, and had the audacity to look smug when I started drooling. “I don’t think you’ll strip me of my apron just yet.”

Damn. The man knows me too well. There will be no kicking him out of the kitchen tomorrow night, that’s for sure. Now, come Thursday, if he tells me we’re having chicken, well, I may have to revoke his Golden Spatula.

I’ll keep you apprised of the menu –

****Do you have alternate names for foods and meals in your home? Did you ever make up a fancy name for an old recipe just to give it a new kick? What’s the craziest name of something you love to cook? Leave a comment, Buttercup, and share your foodie fun stuff.


Thanks for walking down Memory Lane with me.  🙂

Please come back next week to meet author Leigh Lee, whose historical novel, Vows of Pain & Passion, has spent six weeks on Amazon’s bestseller list for Medieval romance. I’m interviewing Leigh and look forward to learning more about her book, especially all the research she did prior to ever penning a word of the novel.

See you then, and thanks for hanging out here at Writing in the Buff!


12 Responses to "Down Memory Lane: Squirrel By Any Other Name Is . . . Chicken?"

  1. Comment by Sioux
    April 15, 2015 at 6:42 am  

    Lisa–It sounds like because of Papa, you have many fond memories (and many stories to tell… and write). Sometimes it’s better to take a bite or a spoonful and AFTER you’ve tasted it, THEN find out what it is.

    It’s not too crazy, but my mom made an egg casserole with butter and bread and eggs and a cheddar cheese spread that we called “Eggy Stuff.” We had it on Christmas morning, along with other special mornings. It was light and greasy and filling…

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 16, 2015 at 3:11 pm  

      Yes, Sioux. Papa left us with a lot of wonderful memories.

      Your “eggy stuff” sounds delicious. Way better than chicken fried squirrel!

  2. Comment by Cathy C. Hall
    April 15, 2015 at 9:40 am  

    Good, old Papa. My mother-in-law used to fry up a mess of steak (technically called “chicken fried steak”) and the kids LOVED it. My youngest always called it “greasy steak.” (I think he overheard me one time, talking about it. I was…er, less of a fan. But you know, my mother-in-law LOVED that her grands loved that dish, no matter what it was called!) 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 16, 2015 at 3:11 pm  

      Things always taste better with grandma love in them. 🙂

  3. Comment by Claudia
    April 15, 2015 at 7:45 pm  

    Ah this brings back memories. I grew up with fried squirrel and fried rabbit too. When reading to my students, the character ate fried squirrel and they nearly died. Most had not heard of it even though we live on edge of Ozarks and are very rural area.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 16, 2015 at 3:12 pm  

      Okay, Claudia, I have to ask. Does it taste like chicken?

  4. Comment by Pat
    April 15, 2015 at 7:57 pm  

    Squirrels are currently on my bad list since they like to chew through the vinyl siding on my house. Would you like a few for fricasseeing?

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 16, 2015 at 3:13 pm  

      Haha – no thanks. We had a family of squirrels in the attic a few years ago. We had to pay to have someone repair the damage they did, and put up metal flashing to prevent the little buggers from chewing their way back in.

  5. Comment by ButtonsMom2003
    April 16, 2015 at 12:35 am  

    What a wonderful story/memory.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 16, 2015 at 3:14 pm  

      Thanks. 🙂

  6. Comment by Tammy
    April 20, 2015 at 6:19 pm  

    What a cute story. Papa sounds like quite a gem. When my children were growing up, I used to get so sick of cooking that I would have eaten squirrel as long as someone else made it. Used to make up names for foods all the time. One was “Tammy’s Turkey Panini in a Hurry-ni.” The kids weren’t impressed, but I sort of liked that one.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      April 21, 2015 at 8:23 pm  

      Haha. Great name for a sandwich. And I’m with you on the someone else cooking thing, but I’m not sure I could eat squirrel. A lot of people do, but . . .

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: