86th Annual Tom McNulty Coon Feed

January 29, 2013

Table cards and a heated waiting tent — with retro lounge seating and bar waiter service no less — at Coon Feed? With the trend-setting communal tables and perfectly roasted raccoon, one might think one was dining at a fancy restaurant in Chicago.

While Elizabeth has served a raccoon bolognese, and Next's current theme is The Hunt, they have a long way to go with wild game compared to the veterans at the Delafield American Legion Post 196, who served the 86th Annual Tom McNulty Coon Feed in Wisconsin this past Saturday.

I wrote about Coon Feed extensively last year, though I missed it because of my visit to Japan's earthquake and tsunami recovery region. 
 
Especially after that visit, I'm relieved to report that the annual raccoon dinner remains mostly unchanged.
As usual, about 300 diners feasted on this increasingly rare delicacy. Though this year, a near record number of raccoons was served, 80 or so, up from 60 in recent years. 
So much so that they generously gave me a half-gallon container of raccoon meat to take home. Of course I will share with my friends at WBEZ.
Coon Feed hostess Lillian McNulty held court, her tiny frame sporting the 86th annual commemorative t-shirt. She donated t-shirt proceeds to the local Waukesha County chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America. The dinner proceeds benefit American Legion youth programs. Though I'd say the dinner benefits those of us who return year after year.
 
While the Delafield Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit 196 does a mean dessert table, a visit to Wisconsin would not be complete without frozen custard. Fancy places like Shake Shack might copy custard, but there's only one Coon Feed.