Wasted Wild Duck
But of course we’d want a hunter’s spare wild duck, I said, as visions of the seared red breast, with a crisp layer of fat, danced in my head. But this was not your standard Long Island duck. This was a small wild one (maybe a wigeon), feathers and all. Apparently the breast is the only part worth cooking and rather than pluck each feather, you’re just advised to pull off the feathered skin in one piece, like a glove (I hear you do rabbits the same way). This was the duck Dan had smoked on his fly-out here that so enchanted me.
We tried to cut it up, though something wasn’t right. The breast seemed to have started to decay, with some sort of necrosis. I heard you were supposed to gut game right away, so perhaps the intact insides contributed to the problem? I flipped out. Granted, we had the hairy waterfowl in the fridge a day or two before tackling it, so maybe that was the problem? It felt ominous to have the feathered friend in the fridge. Why did this bother me when I handled (with assistance, of course) the turkey at Afton Field Farm with no problem?
I feel guilty we failed. It was a tiny bird, but it especially feels bad to waste food when people are starving and scrambling to survive in Haiti. In fact, just thinking and writing about food has felt vacuous and out-of-touch this week with all that suffering there. And of course, the situation was dire there far before this tragedy. But it’s not until catastrophe forces a neglected nation into the news that we remember those people subsisting on dirt and less than $2 a day. I keep thinking of the Haitian Women’s Program folks I befriended in Flatbush while reporting on HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean community. We’ve made our donations to Doctors Without Borders and Portland-based Mercy Corps. Shouldn’t we do more? We’re at least trying to be thankful for each precious meal.