As a farm wife, Mrs. Charles Vollmer probably had an easier time putting meat on the table than her big-city counterparts during World War II. A farmer didn’t need to produce a ration stamp when he slaughtered a cow or pig for his family’s consumption. Still, with many staples in short supply, even farm families looked for ways to stretch their food dollar. That’s no pork roast going into Mrs. Vollmer’s oven in the photo below – it’s the better part of a 30-pound raccoon shot by her husband, a Mankato-area farmer. The Minneapolis Tribune treated readers to a page full of photos of the overnight hunt and the beaming farm couple.
Have you ever tasted raccoon? The first edition of "Joy of Cooking," published during the Great Depression, included recipes for raccoon, squirrel and opossum. And raccoon apparently is enjoying renewed popularity as "the other dark meat" in some parts of the country. Mmmm-mm, now that's good eatin'.
|The original caption is deliciously understated: "A 30-pound raccoon prepared for baking is put into the oven by Mrs. Vollmer. A 30-pound raccoon is considered large." Other adjectives come quickly to mind. (All photos here were shot by the Tribune's Wayne Bell)|
|Original caption: "The hunting party was composed of Irving Guentzel, David Wendelshafer (with dogs), Charles Vollmer (partly hidden), Fritz Ochler and Art Bochland, all farmers near Mankato. The hunt started at 8 p.m. and lasted almost until daybreak. Five raccoons were bagged."|
|"Dogs are used by hunters, and here one has a raccoon treed. ... The raccoon is considered a valuable fur-bearing animal and can be hunted and trapped until the one-month open season closes Dec. 1." Minnesota's raccoon season now lasts nearly five months, ending in mid-March.|
|"A raccoon pelt is thrown around the shoulders of Mrs. Vollmer by her husband. An average pelt brings about $7.00. The animals are hunted almost every night, weather permitting, when they are on the prowl for food."|
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This Minneapolis Tribune story is a mess. But the headline is sublime.
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Read it in the voice of Garrison Keillor for the full effect.
A musically inclined vagrant known as Banjo Ben walked the streets of Minneapolis in the city's early days. His weakness for alcohol and penchant for strong language landed him in court with some frequency. In February 1876, for example, he was sentenced to 20 days in jail for spewing obscenities at the St. Paul and Pacific depot. Later that year, he walked into the Tribune newsroom and issued an invitation to witness a spectacular feat at the new suspension bridge under construction nearby.
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