Hungry for 'braised urban squirrel'? A Lawrence, Kansas, cook-off will star wild foods
Ingredients from the Kansas outdoors — including wild game and foraged produce — will be featured in the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks' first-ever Wild Foods Cook-Off. The event will take place Sunday, Nov. 19 at Baker University Wetlands Discovery Center in Lawrence.
Squirrel, elderberries and pawpaws aren't usually the stars of Kansas cuisine. But they — and other ingredients found in the Kansas outdoors — are taking center stage at Wild Foods Cook Off in Lawrence this weekend.
Amy Bousman, an education specialist at the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and organizer of the event, said the idea came from a similar event focused on invasive species in Oregon.
"I thought, why aren't we doing this cook-off with wild foods?" she said. "There's so many hunters and anglers and foragers in our state, and also in Missouri, that aren't getting to feature their skills and show what what they're capable of."
Entries will fall into six categories: wild game, wild fish, wild plants, wild mushrooms, wild sweets and wild invasive/nuisance species. Spectators are welcome to try the dishes, and each will be judged by expert chefs and foragers, too.
Prizes for the top dish in each category, as well as the "community favorite," will be awarded.