Friday, August 11, 2006

OLS 7: Gratitude

As of yesterday morning, the yard was a little bit quieter. We slaughtered our two female Pekin ducks--one for us, and one for a friend. (The third Pekin, a drake, is being saved for a friend who isn't quite ready yet.)

Remember how our turkey last Thanksgiving was the Best Ever? Ditto for our home-raised duck. A little meatier than a store-bought one, and much more tender and juicy. Sublime flavor. I followed Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's advice and started it at 450ºF for 20 minutes, then (for a 3-lb. duck) continued roasting it, basting occasionally, an hour and 20 minutes more at 350º.

I don't want to sound new-agey or to horn in on other people's cultural traditions, but I've always liked the Native American idea of thanking the animal who becomes your dinner. To eat an animal is not something to be taken lightly. And maybe for that reason, I felt today that it was important to roast this duck the very, very best I could, because wouldn't it be a colossal waste if it wasn't perfect?

I do feel as though I did my best. And it was not a waste. It brought us a lot of joy, and for that I am truly grateful.

The duck was served with our own potatoes, carrots, and parsley root. (The parsley root, a German type of parsley that is grown specifically for its root, tastes a lot like celeriac--a great discovery, especially since our celeriac doesn't appear to be doing that well.) We finished the meal with peach cobbler made from juicy, flavorful Georgia peaches (from Big 6 Farm, Fort Valley, Ga., 103 miles) and Southern Biscuit flour (from Midstate Mills, Inc., Newton, N.C., 245 miles).