HIBERNIA, Ind. - After a four-year absence, raccoon is back on the menu for the Hibernia Community Building's annual fundraiser. LaVeran Lorenz, 86, has agreed to resume cooking duties for the March 24 event - with a little help with the cleaning. "It's not like cleaning a chicken, I'll tell you that," said Dina Woods, one of Lorenz's neighbors who agreed to learn how to clean raccoons for cooking.
Allus Franklin and other hunters in the town on Hibernia Road off Indiana 62 about 20 miles north of Louisville, Ky., have bagged 103 raccoons for the event. "When they told us, we'd already caught 40," he said.
"It's the biggest day in Hibernia, I think," Woods said.
But Lorenz, who had handled much of the raccoon cooking duty for every fundraiser since the early 1950s, begged off after the 2002 event. The 21 members of the Owen Township Homemakers since have prepared chili and ham and beans for fundraisers, but people have pleaded with the cook to bring raccoon back to the table.
Helen Sue Sneed, a daughter of Lorenz's, said she wasn't surprised her mother agreed.
"It's what keeps her going," Sneed said. "She enjoys being around people. That's a big part of it."
Turkey will also be served for those who don't have a taste for the wild meat, along with dressing and gravy, parsley potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans and rolls.
Franklin said raccoon meat's flavor is similar to pork.
"You'd be surprised," he said. "People like them."