Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Tale of Ferdinand, or, The Great Duck Adventure

Our first Christmas as a married couple!
Way back in November, when Jacob and I were buying our Thanksgiving turkey, he noticed the display of geese, cornish hens, and ducks that were frozen and right next to the turkeys. Immediately, Jacob began to enthusiastically proclaim his desire to cook a duck "just like the one in Babe." So, we decided that for Christmas, we would prepare a duck to celebrate.

The dango that guarded our front door
 (along with the angels). 
                                            We traveled to Washington to spend Christmas day and that week with Jacob's family, and they happen to own the video of Babe. Since I have not seen that movie in forever, one night, Jacob and I curled up on the couch and watched it. And it was as amazing as I remembered! Soon after, we returned home to our dango (I left green dango facing the door to creep out intruders) and the duck that lay in the freezer.

Last Saturday evening, the beginning of the feast of the Epiphany, we decided to prepare the duck. Such a festive occasion necessitated the greatest solemnity, and I decided that the duck needed a name. Since I couldn't remember the name of the Christmas duck in Babe, I decided on the next best option: Ferdinand, the duck who acted like a rooster.
Jacob gave me another part of my Christmas present--a new roasting pan!--and we prepared for the 3 hour process of Ferdinand cooking into a luscious dinner.

Ferdinand, prior to my slashing and hacking away (when you cook
ducks, you're supposed to make slashes all over to let the fat drain out). 

Yes, partway through the cooking process, I found the neck.
Jacob could not pull it out of the body, but it stretched
all through the body to pop out the opposite end!
It's almost like HE'S ALIVE!
(But he's not. Because he's partially cooked. He is
in fact all dead.)

As we tried to pull out the bag of orange glaze (I still don't understand why the bags of glaze are always stuck inside the carcass, because they just freeze in there and are tough to get out!), we found that the neck was still frozen solid inside of the duck. Well, no way that was going to go. To my chagrin, we were going to cook Ferdinand with his neck intact.

For some reason, I became obsessed with the disgusting reality that the neck of our duck lay inside of his body, cooking with the rest of him. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I did not want to accidentally eat part of his neck? I'm not entirely sure. Regardless, with gusto I plunged into the activity of flipping over Ferdinand, poking his skin to let the fat out, and patiently waiting while he cooked.
Despite my enthusiastic attempts at cooking him to perfection, I was unable to pull out the neck, and I did not achieve the crispy skin that every recipe raved about. However, Jacob and I were still both pleased with our delicious Epiphany feast! Seriously, we were eating a duck. That's so awesome!

Ready to eat! I'm donning my solemnity hat,
because it was the Solemnity of the Epiphany,
so such a hat is only appropriate. And the
apron was a present from my family--they made
aprons for Jacob and I with matching potholders
for Christmas! 
Even though we probably aren't going to cook a duck again (they taste good, but we can also prepare chicken and turkey to taste good without a 4 hour process and the expense of a duck), it was an epic adventure! What a way to celebrate the Epiphany--feasting like kings on a home-prepared duck.