Early look at Wild Animal Park, troubled elephants come to the zoo, China’s panda hunter and pandas end up in San Diego, the morality of SeaWorld’s dolphins
Various Authors 3:49 p.m., Dec. 3
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Some people get (justifiably) butt-hurt over the atrocities of American colonialism this time of year, but this is still my favorite holiday. For many years, when I was cooking professionally, I took a lot of joy in the day because it was the one time of year I could count on everyone else cooking for me for once. Even going back to when I was a little dude confined to the kids table, I always looked forward to the gustatory delights of the year’s biggest feast. Now, it’s a chance for me to eat jellied cranberry sauce.
I don’t care. Nobody can make a better cranberry product. Put Thomas Keller, Auguste Escoffier, and Joel Robuchon in a room with a bunch of cranberries and forbid them to come out until they achieve perfection: the result will never equal the perfect, jiggly deliciousness of canned cranberry sauce. It has the greatest texture ever. Like tangy, fruit foie gras for dessert...but you get to eat it during dinner. Swoon.
Anyways, this year I will be eating duck instead of turkey for two important reasons.
1) There will only be two of us eating “Mr. Mallard” and turkeys are too massive. I could try and get a little turklet but how would that be any different than a chicken?
2) Duck is superior to turkey. In an objective arena, there is no contest between the two.
To get my duck, I made a trip to Mission Gorge and visited Iowa Meat Farms. I’d heard they were doing “turduckens” on pre-order, but I don’t anticipate ever having to feed nine-thousand people in one sitting.
The place is rad. It’s like a meat paradise where all the wonderful, tasty animals (and their constituent parts) that don’t make it the regular grocery store end up. I saw veal sweetbreads, ox-tails, pork shanks, every kind of liver you can imagine, bison and other game, berkshire pork, alligator sausage, restaurant-sized rib roasts, beautiful (dry-aged, USDA Prime!) steaks, quails, ducks, and even a frozen goose.
Yeah, sure, maybe the goose cost over a hundred dollars, but chances to buy el ganso are slim indeed. All I can say is, “British Christmas, anyone?”
I seriously wonder if they could get me a swan....
Beyond the specialty and variety meats, Iowa has specialty groceries on lockdown as well. Everything from designer pasta to fancy salt. If Brandon Hernandez is to be believed (and he usually is in matters of ales and lagers) the store has a bomb beer cave that’s kinda secretly tucked away out back.
There’s a glorious lack of practical goods. The tiny rack of vegetables (potatoes, onions, and garlic) is almost an afterthought. My new, everyday grocery store? No, probably not.
Awesome, duck and goose emporium? Very much so.
6041 Mission Gorge Road