Crack the skull, then dip in your spoon ...

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I used to wonder, as a child in Missouri, sitting around the dining room table which was almost large enough to seat all nine of us, whether eating squirrel brains made you smarter, writes Caroline H. Allen.

Apparently not. According to the University of Kentucky, squirrel brains, and even their flesh, can give you Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. I'm not sure I'm convinced. I swallowed spoonfuls of the pasty, jelly-like brains from when I was a small child until my 18th year (when I was able to escape). I'm now 33, and so far so good.

Squirrel brains are eaten much like an egg: you crack the skull with the edge of a sharp knife, and then spoon the dark matter to your lips. I couldn't even estimate how many tiny deep-fried legs and arms I've lunched on. It's not bad really; a wild taste somewhere between wild rabbit and ground hog.

At the end of dinner, there would always be platefuls of tiny black gun pellets rolling around on empty plates. If you were lucky, you'd spit them out before they broke a tooth. It's hard for me to believe that one of nature's furry little creatures could be blamed for CJD. And anyway, who's to say that people who eat squirrel brains don't also eat other strange things?