Did you know the agricultural production of ducks has steadily declined since the 2nd World War. Meanwhile the production of broiler chickens has skyrocketed. Think to yourself how often do you eat duck? Have you ever eaten duck? Do you like duck? Are you unsure of duck? Are you scared of duck?
It is very likely that our Grandparents (depending on age) ate much more duck than chicken. Before the mass agricultural monoculture was born, ducks where much cheaper to produce than chickens. One had to pay top dollar if they wanted a Christmas chicken.
I imagine a stigma began to form about ducks and other small sustainable meat choices such as rabbit, branding them as cheap meats that symbolized your class. How sad is it that we have lost so much of our culinary history due to image. Not to mention our grip on healthy agriculture.
“Vegetarianism in America” study, published by Vegetarian Times (vegetariantimes.com), shows that 3.2 percent of U.S. adults, or 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian-based diet. Approximately 0.5 percent, or 1 million, of those are vegans, who consume no animal products at all. In addition, 10 percent of U.S., adults, or 22.8 million people, say they largely follow a vegetarian-inclined diet. The 2008 study also indicated that 31 percent cited food-safety concerns; 54 percent cited animal welfare as their reason to forgo eating meat (I fully support vegetarianism and this is not meant as a ploy to convert anyone too eating meat.). It is astounding that people are choosing not to conventionally participate in out agriculture system due to America’s lack. I feel those two statements shouldn’t have a home in a modern civilized country but they do. America’s food system is a monster few chose to battle and I applaud those that take such huge strides within their own lives to avoid agriculture misconduct. Food-safety and Animal Welfare are monumental issues for all American vegetarians and omnivores alike. The only tangible answer I can see is sustainable agriculture. Bringing sustainable, healthy and humane choices into every home will change us all for the better.
So if you are thinking of making a small stride towards a sustainable culinary choice. Why not think duck? Or goose? Or rabbit? Or goat? Or any other small animal that might be produced by a local farmer.
On the subject of duck, duck fat is low in saturated fats. New research is revealing that duck fat has similar properties to olive oil! Duck contains more iron and less calories than chicken or turkey. If you can cook chicken, you can cook duck. Internal temperature should be 160*F when done. Duck contains no white meat so don’t expect it to look like chicken. If you are one of those that says “Oh, I’ve tried it before and didn’t like it” Don’t be dense…. You most likely haven’t liked every way you have ever had chicken or beef or pork or turkey but you still like those things don’t you? Tasting new flavors and textures is one of the many joys to be had in this world. So don’t give up on duck! Don’t be afraid of it! Roast it with sweet potatoes or winter squash, top with goat or sheep cheese, garnish with fresh parsley and Enjoy IT!