When I was a very young woman, in love with a young man who made his living at his family’s hardware store in New Jersey, I used to eat wild duck fairly regularly. Rick shot those ducks himself, bringing them home with the able assistance of our Golden Retriever, Adam. Later, when I was living in Alaska, in lust with another guy who hoisted a gun for fun, I learned how to remove a dead duck’s pinfeathers — using a waxing process not unlike the one my hairdresser insists I allow her to repeat with my eyebrows.
In the end, I married a man who does not shoot ducks and who has no time for sissy dogs like Golden Retrievers, preferring, instead, Northern breeds with minds of their own. And to my mind, there’s no better duck than the one my husband smokes out back on the Weber: birds I buy already gutted, cleaned and devoid of their pinfeathers. Funny: before today, I never thought much about me and men and ducks — though I’m well aware I’m crazy for them. In fact, I had one for dinner just last night. Duck, I mean.
Fragrant Duck, at Wild Ginger in Bellevue.
In it, Seattle chef Becky Selengut — who blogs as Chef Reinvented — chronicles the death of a flock of Pekin ducks she helped “slaughter, scald, pluck and eviscerate.” Becky, whom you may know from her work as a chef-instructor at PCC, then helped turn those birds into a multicourse farm-to-table dinner. And given what so many of you had to say regarding my chicken post yesterday, I think you should read what Becky wrote regarding her duck dilemma (here’s the link), noting in advance her fair warning: “It discusses the slaughtering of animals, in some detail. You may want to put down whatever you are eating.”