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February 25, 2015

Duck, Duck--GOOSE!

When Shakespeare penned the now famous quote, "The course of true love never ran smooth," he certainly wasn't intending it to apply to the culinary realm, but in the lives of Mr. B and I myself, no truer words were ever spoken.

Don't get me wrong--Mr. B is a marvelous chef and he woos me with all sorts of culinary delights. Never have I known a man who could so deftly and expertly figure out the secrets of my palate. His creations run from the simple, but satisfying all the way to the sublime. After all, this is the man who introduced me to the pleasures of truffle honey slathered on goat cheese, garlicky roasted Dungeness crabs and my favorite, gnocchi with Gorgonzola cheese.


Perhaps it's his French ancestry, or his deft knife skills, but people like to give Mr. B the spoils of their hunt. On several occasions (more than I'd like to count)  Mr. B's been the recipient of one wild beast or another. Once, I returned from work to find a massive deer haunch protruding from the kitchen sink and Mr. B in a butcher's apron happily involved in the the task of taking something so large and turning it into edible and exquisite fare.


Somewhere along the line, we reached an agreement (this, after I discovered a pig's head in my refrigerator) that the butchering and cooking of any large beast would need to take place in my absence and since then, we've been more than blissfully married.


One afternoon several weeks ago, Mr. B's phone rang and he stepped out of the room to take the call. Perhaps it was the tone of his voice, or the whispered conversation, but my sixth sense kicked in almost immediately. It's true; wives know things. 


At first, Mr. B was reticent, but with a little prodding, I was able to get him to confess rather quickly. His downfall, of course, was his excitement--someone had shot two wild geese and hadn't a clue what to do with them. Their dilemma proved to be Mr. B's opportunity and over the next few hours, he poured himself into researching the best techniques and methods in working with wild fowl. It was tricky work, he explained, for wild geese are lean and gamey, but he knew he could successfully rise to the challenge.


When the birds made their way into my house, I haven't a clue, for Mr. B upheld his end of the bargain. I will say that late one evening when I returned from work, upon opening the door, I was met with the most marvelous and savory smell; it seemed to hang in the air and enticed me straight to the kitchen. But, the kitchen was spotless and on further inspection, there was nothing on the stove or in the oven. Anxiously, I opened the refrigerator to search more thoroughly, but all I found were 6 small jars, their contents sealed beneath a thick layer of fat.


I found Mr. B fast asleep and it wasn't until the next morning that he told me that he had made goose rillettes--goose meat cooked down in its own fat until it's infused with flavor and then preserved with a layer of fat--and that we would try it later on with good crusty bread.



I'm ashamed to admit it, but I always approach Mr. B's wild culinary creations with a bit of skepticism. There are many things I'd rather not know about, and when it comes to the wild beasts, I instinctively know that Mr. B is loathe to waste a scrap. It could very well be the secret to his delectable pâtés, his extraordinary sausages and his to die for cassoulet. 

In the end, I always come to my senses--and my appetites. This time, however, I simply couldn't stop myself from greedily eating every last bite; I even went so far as to use my last crust of bread to wipe the jar clean. Mr. B's goose rillettes were so spectacularly delicious that I'm secretly hoping he comes across a few more wild geese--and soon, too.