Southern Delicacy

Posted July 27, 2005 at 4:37pm

[IMGCAP(1)]In 1947, the Gillett (Ark.) Farmer’s and Businessmen’s Club held the first annual Gillett Coon Supper in the local high school to raise money for the football team. While the fundraiser continues to this day, taking in money for the school system, it has also become a major political gathering and has featured some of the biggest names in Arkansas politics.

Above, Rep. Marion Berry (right) poses for a photo at the 1986 supper with then-Gov. Bill Clinton and pastor Don Eubanks. Berry and his wife, Carolyn, often host a kickoff reception across the street from the dinner, according to the Congressman’s office. Clinton was a regular attendee during his days in the statehouse.

For those interested, the dinner is prepared by quartering and washing the raccoon, then letting it soak overnight in salt water. The next day the coon is boiled until tender, then placed in the tanks to be smoked (recipe courtesy www.coonsupper.com).