Eat more duck? I don’t know why we (Americans) don’t eat more duck. I just had a pan roasted duck breast with coca sauce, served on a bed of lentils with cipollini onions the other day at Citizen Cake here in San Francisco, and throughout the meal I could not stop asking myself why I don’t eat more duck. I love duck.
Duck has so much more flavor than chicken, and roasted duck fat and crispy skin surpasses that king of fatty delicacies bacon any day. And, I really love bacon. But, duck is another realm of sensuous eating pleasure. Duck is like an affair with an exotic beauty who barely speaks your language. Bacon is a fling with the hot bartender around the way.
Duck is never mentioned in those poultry scares. I cannot remember any duck recalls, bans, poisonings, or governmental white papers against it. The only thing we hear about is the whole foie gras flap. Is it cruel, or is it not cruel? If I were a duck I think I would say it is cruel to force me to eat when I do not want to eat, but if I were a duck I would also feel the evolutionary need to stuff myself silly for the long flight South and would feel it even more cruel if my keeper did not feed me all I crave to eat. Other than that duck is free from controversy (to my limited culinary focused knowledge).
So why do we not eat more duck? Expense? Hell yeah, that’s one reason. Duck is expensive here in the States. You may give the old chicken purchase the once around the brain and compare it to the cost of hamburger, but duck…that’s a stop and ponder this for awhile purchase.
Availability? Yeah, that is also a problem in most areas. You can’t just pop down to the market and pick up a fresh duck or duck breast. Well, I live in San Francisco, and I can go to Chinatown and have them slaughter the duck of my choice for me. If I was inclined to do that, and if my Cantonese was up to snuff to get it done. I assure you, I have not and it is not… so relax. But availability is a problem because the only duck you are going to find is more than likely whole and frozen, and then you have to plan, thaw and wait. Ok, duck seems really impractical now.
Treatment? This is the last obstacle I see with duck. Not the ethical treatment of them; although, that crosses my mind too. I mean how should you cook it? Should you butcher it and pan roast or grill the breast, and make confit out of the legs and thighs? Or, should you break out the bike pump and fan and Peking that sucker? That’s the dilemma.
If I was Chef Gary Danko I could turn it into duck breast prosciutto, but there is only one Danko and I am not he. If I was uber Chef Thomas Keller, I could create some dish out of duck that could revive the dead, but I am not Thomas Keller either. I am just an ordinary cook who loves duck and cannot get past the Expense, Availability, and Treatment of duck in order to EAT duck.
If I lived in France, I don’t think I would have this problem. I could buy fresh duck breasts, pay a bit more for it than chicken, go home and pan roast them, and use the rendered duck fat to fry some potatoes. I could eat duck at will, and then ponder why I don’t eat more pheasant. I’m still going to try and eat more duck.
How about you?