Thursday, August 23, 2012


Eastside Road, August 23, 2012—
WHY A DUCK, asked Groucho: because it is so damn delicious, say I. When I was a boy I was in charge of our duckyard for a year or so, and I hated it. There is no dirtier animal than a duck, and while the male Mallard is a splendid creature, we mostly had Muscovies, and they, I thought at the time, were remarkably ugly. Bad-tempered, too.

Then in the early days of our marriage, when we depended on the fruit of street trees, and the smoked oyster samples of traveling salesman friends of friends' mothers, and the occasional cheese won in a guess-the-weight contest — I'm not kidding about any of this — there was a time when we ate a lot of duck, because a friend worked at the Department of Public Health, and somehow had access to duck carcasses. They were all missing one leg; I never did find out why. They were perfectly sound otherwise, we thought, and they were nourishing.

Dinner down the hill tonight, where T. cooked duck legs, Muscovies, I think, leaner and with more flavor than the usual white ducks. Braised for quite a long time, almost to the point of caramelization, which brings out lots of deep deep flavors, with chopped leeks and carrots and who knows what. With them, squash, cut in slices and roasted in the oven with salt and garlic; green salad afterward.

And after that, apple crisp made her way with nut meal rather than grains of any kind — with textures and deep roasted flavors that somehow bookended the duck braise. Autumn is around the corner.
Petit Syrah, Preston of Dry Creek, 2009: rounded with edge, lots of nose.


Daniel Wolf said...


Not to be picayune, but I believe that it was Chico who asked "Why a duck?" when Groucho mentioned a viaduct in The Cocoanuts. In any case, the more important question is "why not duck?"

Charles Shere said...

Thank you. I rely on picayunity for all my approach to The Truth. Gotta get a copy of Cocoanuts!