Friday, September 22, 2006
Winner, winner, pheasant dinner!
Common critique out here in farm and ranch territory often drifts toward how most of the United States lives lacking awareness regarding from where its food comes. I like to think I hold some awareness of food production...some of my favorite books deal with food production--namely Food Politics by Marion Nestle and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.
Today I encountered the culture of food source and production in vivid detail. At least the vivid nature of my dinner tonight did not hit me until I had to remove this talon/claw from a pheasant I received from our neighbor several months ago. The bird sat in my freezer, mocking me, reminding me of how disconnected I am to a major part of South Dakota culture. People come from all over the world to hunt these birds. I live in close proximity to world class pheasant hunting. After opening the bag and preparing tonight's dinner, I realized I know nothing of food sources. Reading about the sources of food did not prepare me for the view of a talon. I am thankful my wife wasn't around. She may have had to leave the house in an apoplectic rush.
My neighbor gave this bird in a spirit of friendship and neighborliness, I could at least cook it. It took me five swipes with my largest kitchen blade (a cleaver would have been nice) to remove this talon from its appendage. With the first swipe I hit a muscle just right--and the talon opened (btw, everytime I think of the word talon, I think of Napoleon Dynamite inquiring about the size of a bird's talons).
City boy, out of touch, out of my element--all the sound bite commentary fits. At least I took a little bit of South Dakota culture into the fiber of my being. A strange journey for a Pacific Northwest boy and a former vegetarian.
I baked the pheasant, basted it with Famous Dave's BBQ Sauce, and served the meat with classic Upper Midwest staples: rice (I diverted from custom and used brown rice) and cream of mushroom soup. Bon appetite!