Monday, February 2, 2015

Susan B. Anthony's Remarkable Meal

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Susan B. Anthony, the great suffrage leader once found herself a passenger on a Wells Fargo stage driven by the famous jehu, Mark Regan. She was enroute from Denver to Salt Lake City.
At the 'eatin' house at the Bitter Creek way station, Susan was served the piece de resistance of that establishment by the proprietor, a Mr. Rawlins. Said delicacy was 'roasted whitefish' and Susan showed her appreciation by consuming three generous helpings.
Susan proceeded on her merry way via Wells Fargo stage to the next 'eatin' house and promptly ordered white fish, but was forced to settle for fried chicken. Between bites of the fowl she praised Mr. Rawlins and his white fish. Finally the waitress, a Mormon girl could take no more and told Susan in disgust, "You didn't eat no white fish ma'am. That was pure rattlesnake meat. That's what that no good Rawlins serves everybody."
In high indignation Susan sent for the manager. However, Mark Regan stepped forward and gently assured Susan that she had in truth eaten rattlesnake meat. "You see, Ma'am," he informed her, "Rawlins is supposed to keep a supply of game to feed the stage passengers, but being somewhat of a naturalist he forgets at times. Then he just kills the first thing at hand and cooks it. Today he killed some big fat rattlers down by Bitter Creek."
As was ladylike for members of the weaker six in that day, Susan promptly swooned. Thirty years later, however, the suffrage leader wrote to Mark Regan, "I can now smile with others over that remarkable meal."
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) is perhaps the most widely known suffragist of her generation and has become an icon of the woman's suffrage movement. Anthony traveled the country to give speeches, circulate petitions, and organize local women's rights organizations.
Diamond Rattlers Recipe
Salt and pepper
2 ½ pounds cleaned diamond back rattlesnake
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup cooking oil or bacon drippings
Parsley or watercress
Salt and pepper rattlesnake to taste and roll in cornmeal. Lay separately on waxed paper. Panfry in oil until brown on both sides. Place on heated platter and decorate with parsley or watercress. If desire, serve with tarter sauce or barbecue sauce.
NOTE: Rattlesnake meat tastes slightly like fish. In some areas of the country, annual rattlesnake hunts are held.


  1. Well thanks for the recipe but I think I'll pass. I'm usually pretty adventurous but if I know beforehand, I'm pretty sure I'd pass on that one. Now, if'n I didn't know beforehand, that might be a different thing altogether.

    Thanks for sharing this delightful piece of history.

    Miss you my friend. I hope you're doing well.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  2. There is a huge rattlesnake roundup in Sweetwater, Texas each year in March. Not my kind of fun!

  3. HEY Patricia from the frozen northwoods. -17 this morning. :)

    I can't say that I would want to eat rattlesnake, but on the other hand, I didn't think I would eat froglegs or gator. I tried both at RT last May and actually thought they were okay. I'd try it again.

    Miss you, too. Hugs!

  4. Hi Caroline, thanks for stopping by today. I did hear that there are places where they have the rattlesnake roundups. Sounds sorta scary.


  5. I may not swoon at the thought of eating a rattlesnake, but like the time I ate alligator tail thinking it was on the menu as such to bring local color to the restaurant in Florida, I went directly to the ladies room and lost my lunch. I know. I'm a bit of a wimp. I wouldn't last a day on the frontier--not even the modern day Alaska frontier. I give kudos to Susan B. Anthony though. What a hearty soul--and we owe her so much. A very amusing article, Paisley.

  6. I have always heard that rattlesnake meat is white and as tasty as chicken. Okay, I'll let them have their way. But I'll pass. My Granny once served up fried frog's legs, telling is kids it was fried chicken cut funny. We gobbled it up. Another time, Mother thought to try rabbit meat, and also told us it was chicken. We gobbled that up. Such innocence on our parts.
    When the clips from the Sweetwater, Texas rattlesnake round-up comes on the tv, I look away. I'm not a hater of snake, and don't like what they do. But I sure wouldn't eat any of their stew.
    Thanks, Paisley--I liked learning about Susan B. Anthony.

  7. Thank you for your comments, Sarah. I understand why the thought of eating a rattlesnake might creep you out. I still can't believe I tried so much of the different New Orleans food while I attended RT last May. I felt so adventuresome to say the least.

  8. Thanks for stopping by, Celia. It is hard to try new things to eat, but my husband has led the way in our family. He always tries the offbeat food and I just stare is shock as he stuffs it into his mouth at times. :)

  9. Well, I am with you, Paisley. No rattlesnake, no alligator, no frog legs. I will also add eels, headcheese, no heart, lung, liver or brains of any animal, or their testacles (which I have seen on cooking shows!). Blech. Blech. Having said that, when traveling by stage I guess if you were hungry enough anything might taste like chicken...or white fish. A most interesting post. :)))

  10. You're right, Ashley, it all depends on how hungry you are I would imagine. Glad you stopped by today.

  11. That recipe sounds amazing. Great Blog as always my friend.

  12. If anyone would try that recipe it would be you, Bubba. Thanks for checking my post out.

  13. I didn't know Susan B. ever considered herself one of the "weaker sex" LOL. Very interesting anecdote. IMO rattlesnakes should be left alone. They are only aggressive when people bother them.

    We just visited New Orleans and I could eat very little other than grits and shrimps. I am not an adventurous eater.

  14. Hi Tanya, Grits and shrimp sounds good to me. ;) I agree the rattler is definitely agressive. We lived in an area where they loved sunning in the dry grass. Definitely leave them alone. Thanks for coming to visit today.


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