Dec 21, 2021 - Food and Drink

Old Florida's strangest recipe involves worms

A portrait of the author Peter Matthiesen in 1992 wearing a blue windbreaker.
Peter Matthiesen in 1992. Photo: Ulf Andersen/Getty Images

The legendary writer Peter Matthiessen β€” the only person to have won the National Book Award in both nonfiction and fiction β€” is well known here for his incredible Florida saga, "Shadow Country."

  • Set at the turn of the century, the novel tells the story of E.J. Watson, a mysterious cane planter in the Everglades suspected in dozens of murders.

The intrigue: For Dean Faulkner Wells' "The Great American Writers' Cookbook," Matthiessen submitted the following "recipe" under the heading "Trail":

  • "Around the turn of the century, a dish called 'trail' was highly esteemed, at least in hunting circles. It consisted entirely of earthworms 'cooked' in the crops of fresh-killed woodcocks β€” before the birds were killed, or course. And served lightly chilled, I believe. Perhaps readers would care to resurrect this dish, woodcocks permitting."

Our question for Old Florida: Is this really a thing? Or is Matthiessen larking?

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