Duck hunt (la chasse au canard)

by jemma margaret

In Wuppertal at a conference I chatted with the Parisians about their city (there is only so much you can say about Wuppertal–the subject is easily exhausted).  Turns out that I am not the only one neglecting to take full advantage of all Paris has to offer. None of us had been to the art museums even though we all got discounted (or free) admission (serves Paris right for not having a history of mathematics museum–jerks!). I admitted that the only museum I had visited since moving here was the museum of the hunt. No one else even knew of that museum’s existence, and thought it was bizarre for an urban area to have a museum devoted to such pastoral activities. It’s small, I said.

Well, let me tell you, Paris is, in fact, full of hunting.

On Sunday morning, back in Paris, I advertised that I would be having duck for supper. You shoot it? Bobby asked.

It might have been faster if I had. For you see, my local butcher, those men around the corner in their white bloody aprons behind their striped awning, they happen to be closed on Sunday. To make matters worse I had planned out my whole menu for the week. Monday night’s risotto relied on Sunday night’s duck, and without that I would be lunch-less on Tuesday. Yes, yes, I know that there are other butchers in Paris, other butchers on my street even. However, I am trying to cut back on the mildly insane pursuit of food items that seems to dominate my leisure hours. So I flexibly adjusted my meal schedule forward one day and had a nice salad for dinner.

The local butcher is also closed on Mondays. Now, of course, I was too committed to switch loyalties midstream. I don’t frequent butchers often (although I am tempted now by their saddles of rabbit), so if I am ever to obtain “regular” status, I need to buy all my ducks from the same spot (oh, and they do a mighty fine confit, oodles of fat…if anyone has any recommendations for using a quarter pound of duck fat send them my way). So it was salad again Monday night. This time followed by a fried egg I cooked up in my new cast iron pot (not so non-stick as advertised).

Much more insane than my duck hunt, is my pursuit of shelf unstable milk. Suddenly, it is shelf absent from the nearby natural food stores, and the Bio version at the standard grocery stores is sub-par. The other whole food grocery store near school sometimes stocks raw milk, but only ever one day in advance of its best by date. Is it that raw milk does not last, or that I happen to choose the wrong time and place to get lait?

The moral of the story, the secret of the successful hunter, is patience. Patience, patience, and you will someday get your duck and milk (though probably not in the same meal).