Serious Wild Food


That’s a hoisin-roasted wild wigeon, with duck-fat French fries, courtesy of my dad. I mean the photo is courtesy of my dad, I wasn’t lucky enough to actually eat the meal. But from the picture alone, not to mention memories of all the meals he’s made for me during my life, I know it would be fantastic. The simple elegance here inspires, although I assure you most of our family-cooked wild food is several levels less beautiful.

But now, with my dad on his way to visit, I have razor clams and wild duck breasts thawing in the fridge for a little down-home “surf-n-sky” dinner. Will definitely have to step up my game, though, as nobody appreciates this kind of food or does it better than Pops. I might have to dig into the last of our spring Chinook stash, too. Or smoked summer king bellies. Or that elk roast from Kate that I’ve been saving…

Guess we’ll just wait until he arrives and ask what sounds good. In the mean time, though, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it all.


Wild Duck: The Other Red Meat


Best way to deal with freezing weather is complete gluttony with good friends. Or at least that’s my working theory, and it worked great this week. In this case, it was a massive duck feed at Smarty’s house. And when I say “massive,” I’m referring only to the amount of ducks we ate, not the size of the gathering. Above, just a few of the dozen or so birds we consumed, ready for the oven.


While we were waiting for the oven to heat up, we ate six ducks’ worth of barbecued-rare, thinly sliced breasts dipped in hot mustard and sesame seeds. Awesome appetizer. The main course went into a very hot oven for a short time, unstuffed, of course, and was served blood rare with crisped skin and a very Russell Chatham-esque sauce that included current jelly, worcestershire and wine. If you’ve ever read Chatham’s “The Great Duck Misunderstanding” (perhaps my favorite piece of  outdoor writing ever) you’ll have a pretty good idea of the meal and its preparation. That’s Smarty starting the carving process.


But since Smarty is a vegetables are what food eats kind of guy, when he said “duck dinner,” he meant it literally.We had duck and more duck. With a little duck. And for dessert, duck. Those are a few carcasses shortly before I dove in to gnaw all the drumsticks down to the bone. I could barely walk back to my car, but I went to sleep dreaming of more ducks. Sometime during the night, a front rolled in and broke our arctic chill. I woke to 50 degrees and light rain. See…duck dinner, perfect cure for freezing weather. Thanks, Smarty.