Doc Hollywood Contacts CDW RE: Cannibal Palsy… Sort of

February 6th, 2010

I continue to get a few scattered emails regarding Cannibal Palsy.  I have heard a few horror stories about people who died from it and so I remain vigilant in doing my best to keep the readers of this blog free of this dread disease.  In particular, it is the brains of any beast, be it human or otherwise that one should avoid consuming. I am sorry if you were partial to brains, but I really must insist that you think hard before eating them again.  The problem with eating a bowl of bad brains is that you won’t die instantly.  Cannibal Palsy can take up to thirty years to kill you.  For some who are in their later years, it might seem that an occasional brain cassoulet might be worth the risk.  Just promise me you will refrain from shoving a spoonful in your grandchild’s mouth. 

As to Doc Hollywood contacting me.  Well – that might be a bit of a stretch – but it was someone closely associated with the real Doc Hollywood… through marriage… thrice removed… on her step-uncle’s side… via adoption… but association is undoubtable.    Did you know that there was a real Doc Hollywood?  Yes!  There was!  I know, I know… the evidence might seem circumstantial and all we have is the movie to go by and how accurate is that?  Was the movie properly translated from ther original Greek and Hebrew?  What about the parts of that film that seem to derive principal elements from other ancient legends?  Like the fireworks over the lake scene?  Or the log cabin dream under a homemade quilt scene?  Or the three old ladies caring for the young doctor scene?  Does that not seem to come straight out Shakespeare?  Clearly – many parts of this story are not original.  And what about the scene that seems like faulty science?  Does a child really turn blue after smoking his dad’s cigar?  Can this mean that the rest of the movie is also a mere fable?  Or can we pick and choose which parts to believe based on the feelings we have in our hearts?   

What was I talking about?

Oh yes… Doc Hollywood!

So there is a real Doc Hollywood and someone closely associated with this person contacted me with more information about how to remain Cannibal Palsy free.  In a nutshell – stop eating squirrels.  IMMEDIATELY!   Evidently squirrel brains are something of a ritualistic delicacy in certain southern states.  There are two favorite ways to prepare this traditional dish.  

1.  Kill and be-head your squirrel. 

2.  Discard squirrel body.

3.  Shave the hair off the top of the squirrel’s head.

4.  Deep fat fry squirrel head.

5.  Serve severed squirrel heads whole (parsley garnish optional)

6.  At the table, crack open the walnut sized skull

7.  Suck out the brains. (It is unclear how exactly the brains are sucked out, so I will leave this to your imagination)

8.  Delish!

9.  At least delicious until the holes start to form in your brain, you become demented, stagger around for a while, and then die.

The other popular method of preparing squirrel brains is to simply break open the skull, scoop out the brains, scramble them with eggs and serve with white gravy.

There is another school of squirrel cuisine that rejects the brains entirely.  These folks eat only the meat of the squirrel in a regional dish called burgoo.  Burgoo eaters don’t do brains and brain eaters don’t do burgoo.  At this point in history, the two squirrel eating factions are managing to peacefully co-exist.  Also – income is not a factor in the enjoyment of this dish.  All segments along the socio-economic spectrum of the Southern US enjoy themselves a little squirrel once in a while.  It’s simply a matter of good taste.    In this article, Kentuckians are warned in particular against consuming roadkill squirrels, as animals infected with ‘mad cow’ or.. er… uh… ‘mad squirrel’ are far more likely to take that fatal staggering step in front of an oncoming vehicle.  

So please, at the VERY LEAST avoid eating the brains of a squirrel you find dead in the middle of the road!

Bon Apetite!




I keep thinking about the scene in Doc Hollywood where Michael J. Fox is reading the letters to his illiterate patients.  He gets very involved in the unfolding story about Ellen and her Pakistani and can’t bear to not know how it all turns out.   Strangely, it makes me think about this blog.


  • km:

    You’re cracking me up!

  • This is so weird, because I just saw a dead squirrel in the road as I walked home from the bus stop last night. I thought, ‘if we lived a little further south and east, that would be a nice dinner for someone’. I never thought about the fact that they could have mad squirrel disease. Of course I’m not eating their brains or their bourgoo, either.

  • Thanks a lot, I can add this to my things to worry about. My grandfather used to fry up squirrel brains when I was young and try to get me to eat them. Hmmm… maybe this is the root of my current vegetarian state?

    Anyway, I’ve already caught lice from your blog. I came down with a case of it shortly after reading your post. My children did not have it, only me, so clearly your blog is the culprit.

  • When my husband was young he used to go to his grandma’s farm and shoot squirrels. His mom would fry them up, Yuck. I don’t think he ever ate the brains though but who knows? That was probably over 45 years ago. But I’ll still keep a watchful eye for Cannibal Palsy just in case LOL.

  • Jill:

    Awwww….so nice to see Michael J. Fox. He was (and still is) adorable.

  • Yummy….Baked Squirrel and Sweet Potatoes

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    My dad grew up in North Carolina and ate squirrels AND cow brains! Said they would cook the cow brains like scrambled eggs. Now I’m glad Dad never made me try them – phew! He also put salted peanuts in his bottle of Coke and then drank it. I wonder what malady that would cause?

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    I wonder what the best method is for shaving a squirrel’s disembodied head? (step 2) Electric razor or blade? How many blades? Do you use shaving cream, or butter?

  • The problematic prion proteins can also be found in spinal cord tissue. The thing that caused all the mad cow problems was that all the extra parts were being ground up and used as animal feed. Cooking will not protect you.

    If someone really believes in transubstantiation…and assuming the communion cracker is the WHOLE body of Christ…then they better hope he didn’t have any kind of prion disorder.

  • Hmmm….looks like your CSS is set to make links in comments not stand out. The last two words of my last comment should link to…

  • Remember when I emailed you about my 8th grade English teacher’s sister who was fine & then one day got lost in her own home & a week later died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (spelling error I’m sure) – a prion disease? Well, it was from eating sheep’s brains in Europe, but what I thought was so amazing was that she ate the brains about 20 years prior when she was on a trip in high school!

    No brains for me! Squirrel, sheep, human, monkey (remember that scene from Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom when they ate the monkey brains????) – I’m not eating them!

  • Nanc in Ashland:

    I swear I need to get my eyes checked. I read the last two words of Cat’s Staff’s post (prion disorder) as porn disorder. And wondered about the source of my communion wafers from many, many years ago . . . ick!

  • GA in GA:

    Too funny, CDW!

    Yep, I still love that movie, too! I have a feeling that the truth was stretched a bit thin in the making of the movie.

    And, even though I live in the SE, I do NOT eat varmint brains! Never have, never will.

  • My neighbors… whom I call the “hillbilly’s” told me that the best time to eat a squirrel is “after the first frost”… something to do about the hump on their back and rabies…

    #1 Why are they telling me this?

    #2 Who eats squirrels?

  • I guess the Michael J. Fox peeing in the woods scene pretty well sums up why men are the superior gender. I mean, what more could one ask for than to be able to pee while running?

    I’m from Mississippi, and have eaten (as a boy anyway) a fair amount of squirrel, but never heard of eating the brains, much less in the quaint ways described. I suppose they should call that disease “Squirrels’ Revenge.”

  • Kimberly:

    Cat’s, I was going to mention all of that too…Kudos to you.

    Now we REALLY know what Ray Liotta died from in Hannibal.

  • Twin-Skies:

    During meal time, my younger sister enjoys eating the brains of whatever fish is being served. Usually it’s either Tilapia, or Lapu-Lapu.

  • Maria:

    Boy the 80′s were a thinner time.

  • Twin-Skies:


    *Looks through all 80s films in personal collection*

    Good observation there.

    It must be to match those gaudy, metrosexual clothes :))

  • Freth:

    I usually shoot squirrels in the head … so as not to waste the body meat. Guess I won’t get the mad cannibal thing …

    Although, the dog next door is probably high on the list to die from it … she catches squirrels, chops them, and then chews on them like a play toy.

  • As, a little MJF in the morning. Perfect! I always loved that movie, but a *real* Doc Hollywood? Awe.some.

  • Lucy Golden:

    YECK…BLECH….PTOOIE! Disgusting…I have *never* eating any kind of organ meat…Ewww…Not to mention tongue….*shiver*

  • Kristin:

    Thank goodness we’re having leek & potato soup for supper. I don’t think I could face meat of any kind.