Harvey County Cooter Cook

       This weekend we have the annual Harvey County Cooter Cook.  I know these old boys who will jump in a river and feel along the banks under the water for snapping turtles.  They grab ’em by the tail and toss them onto the bank where another man waits with a burlap bag.  You have to make sure to grab the right end of the turtle.  A few of those boys have some nubs for fingers that will attest to that fact.  Those cooters are powerful, and could snap a broomstick in two.

        Make fun if you like, but if I’m in a foxhole I want one of those boys with me.  All I know is how to write prescriptions and play the mandolin.  Neither is a basic survival skill, although the mandolin comes close to that for me.

        They’ll have cooter stew and deer ribs, and groundhog and quail.  For  the more conventional visitors there will be all sorts of fish and fried chicken.  They’ll also will have home fries, onion rings and hush puppies, and there’ll be gallons of sweet tea.  One of the ladies will cook up hot dogs and hamburgers for the young’uns.

        After we eat we’ll gather around the campfire and pick some tunes.  Maybe I didn’t make a ton of money as a picker, but that little mandolin got me into all the best parties, and I wouldn’t trade lives with anyone.  Because of it, and my doctoring on those guys, I get into the annual Cooter party free and don’t have to grope around the river bank to earn an invitation.  For that privilege, I am forever grateful.

Dr. B

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6 Comments on “Harvey County Cooter Cook”

  1. Carmen Says:

    Sounds like a wild game dinner I used to go to in South GA. The oddest thing I’ve ever eaten was smoked armadillo at a wild game dinner in San Antonio. We had a great assortment of game, compliments of my boss, a great hunter. But no cooter. Hey, wonder if you could make “tortoise shell picks” out of the shell?

    • drtombibey Says:


      I have wondered about those tortise shells many a time. Maybe someone will weigh in on that, I’m sure there is a way to do it; I just don’t know how.

      Your comments always remind me that all us bluegrassers are the same everywhere.

      Dr. B

  2. newt221 Says:

    Never developed a tast for cooter…However, I like squirrel and quail and deer. We take deer meat and chop is small, bread it and fry it in a deep fat fryer. When they are still hot, pop them in your mouth…Wonderful!

    What does grounghog taste like? Haven’t had that either.

    City people don’t know much about eating “country” food. They thin it’s a novelty. They don’t understand that is what “southerners” ate to survive.

    • drtombibey Says:

      Ms. Cindy,

      Ya caught me kid. I’m country but I’ve never gotten up the nerve to try to the groudhog. I guess I ain’t that country after all.

      Dr. B

  3. Martin Waddell Says:

    Here in Scotland, quails aren’t eaten at outdoor events like the one you describe. Here, they are usually on the menus of expensive, pretentious restaurants. Many, many years ago, when I was a student, a bunch of us went to just such a restaurant in Edinburgh. We were totally confused by the menu, most of which was in French, but one item which was in English was quails. So one of my companions, Carole, asked the waiter (French) what they were. “Leetle game birds, madamoiselle – two of zem on ze plate.” In her usual loud voice (she was training to be an opera singer, after all), she exclaimed “Oh, I couldn’t have that – it would be like eating my budgie!” I think we all decided to have steak that evening.

    • drtombibey Says:


      Too funny man! In the studio today. Having fun; got a couple lives going I guess, but all are good.

      Dr. B

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