(Overbrook, KS) – For three generations the modest hamlet of Overbrook, KS has been cooking up a dish that by most American’s standards is shockingly taboo. Canines have been on the community’s menu since the early 1970s when refugees from the Vietnam war were relocated to the quiet, close-knit township. Grateful for their new-found liberty, the Vietnamese were eager to share many of their ancient customs with their Kansasian neighbors.
As 1985 rolled around the Vietnam-born immigrants had gradually moved away, leaving Overbrook once more a predominantly white community. However, the tradition learned from their foreign friends is one that holds strong to this day.
Overbrook, KS held their first official dog meat festival in the fall of 1992, a low key event where villagers brought in their own doggone dishes to be sampled by family and neighbors. Every year attendance has steadily grown and now the event is host to hundreds of hungry townsfolk each clamoring for a taste of all the tail-wagging wares.
2013 finds the town embracing their unique culinary custom and proudly exclaiming to the rest of the country “we eat dog and that’s okay!” I took a trip to this charming borough to speak with some of the locals and see what they had to say about their new-found reputation as the dog meat capital of United States.
Sandra Mossley, 41, has lived in Overbrook, KS all her life. She tells National Report about the first time she tasted cooked dog at the tender age of 7.
“My parents would always put a dog on the roast when it was a special occasion. I can remember being 6, 7 years old, it was New Years Eve and my folks had been cooking an amazing roast for the better part of a day. It filled our house with a savory sent. It was so sweet and tender. The meat was mouth-watering. Falling off the bone. I was hooked. When I asked what it was my parents just smiled and said they would tell me once I was a little older. I was 13 by the time I knew what we had been eating. I was already hooked…”
Lenard Wilkins, an elder member of the city council was also in attendance. I asked him if the city has caught any flack from neighboring towns because of their taboo tastes.
“We’re ready for the nation to know what we’re about and why it’s okay. Get with the times, people. Realize that it’s perfectly natural to eat man’s best friend. It takes an evolved, open-minded person to break out of these imposed ideas of what is and isn’t okay to eat.
He went onto say “We’re proud of our heritage. This isn’t animal cruelty. Isn’t it more humane to eat the animals instead of locking them up in cages in shelters for the rest of their miserable lives? That sounds terrible. We love our own pets but there’s a definite separation between pet and food.
PETA has stated plans to picket next years dog meat event. They released the following statement via twitter. “This is ghastly… Dogs are our friends not our food!”
One thing is for certain, these folks definitely know their way around a BBQ pit. I was overwhelmed by their generosity and candid nature. Here I was an outsider yet they treated me as one of their very own.
In closing I wish the people of Overbrook the best of luck in all their future endeavors and look forward to attending the event again next year!