The Duck Drama, Post 1 of Perhaps 2 if Everything Goes Right

June 4, 2008

It started simply, as most cooking plans do, with not enough foresight and a general craving. Duck. My god, duck. It’s good.

Mr. Pencil and I thus swayed just had to impulsively buy a frozen duck a few months ago with no concept beyond: “Duck, hell yes.” I don’t remember where we got it: Sheridan’s? New Seasons? Either way it was relegated to the freezer and forgotten save for the occasional exchange:

Mr. Pencil: “What are we going to do with that duck?”
Me: “Yeah.”

A very aggressive (if effeminate) cleaning of our fridge and freezer this weekend resulted in Mr. Pencil pulling the trigger and raising the ante: he put the duck in the fridge. That meant it was sitting in there softening, taunting us, gently putrefying. It would have to be cooked, and in short order. There it was, alone on a pristine shelf, kind of glowing with foreign duckiness.

This morning I packed off to work and the first thing I did was find the perfect recipe. Only one problem. I was at work and the duck was still at home.

That’s when the Twittering began:

Lyza Danger Gardner lyzadanger I need to marinate my duck. I forgot to marinate my duck. And Mr. Pencil had the nerve to go to WORK today so he cannot marinate the duck.

Marinating my duck was in the forefront of my mind. Distracting enough that I had to bust off home for the afternoon, but alas our wifi didn’t work and I was chained to my library and an ethernet jack:

Lyza Danger Gardner lyzadanger F#($king wireless doesn’t work at home which means no time to MARINATE THE FUCKING DUCK! Working.

Thus the afternoon was frantic with, oh, you know, work for customers that they pay us for and stuff and as such the impending marination postponed. I finally found a moment at around 3pm.

Here’s where my hubris really backfired. I’d like to protect you, duck-novice public, should you ever embark on a duck. Because it would be a Shame for it to be quite as surprised as I was. Let me analogize. I see it as akin to when I moved to England and expected things to be familiar and things were similar but in no way the same and it was more disorienting in certain ways than if I’d moved to Zimbabwe, where the differences would be noticeable and much less confusing.

But it was time to cut up my duck.

Duck != Chicken

  1. Ducks have a rind. Not skin so much as a half inch of dense…peel…that has to be reckoned with.
  2. Ducks look like steak on the inside. So, steak with a “frosting” of fat. This I was ready for.
  3. Ducks can actually fly. As such their wing structure reflects this. Mine must’ve been part albatross.
  4. Joints are in different places than a chicken. The ragged edges of my duck legs would make Gordon Ramsey yell at me.
  5. Duck stock is more like gravy. Duck oil, really. Watch out!

I used our spice grinder to mush up some juniper berries, thyme, rosemary, and orange zest and was able to tweet:

Lyza Danger Gardner lyzadanger I have successfully marinated the duck.

What I didn’t tweet was that, while browning the carcass for the stock, I somehow managed to brown the heart. I was so surprised to see it in the pan that I grabbed it with tongs and flung it away. Nothing like flinging a deep-fried duck heart across the room to make you feel like a weirdo.

Later: More duck action; the finished duck.


  1. El Gray says:

    That was interesting reading.
    Seriously, though, I cannot have zee duck. I enjoy it, but it makes me VIOLENTLY ILL. So, please, never try to sneak me any duck. It won’t be pretty.

  2. Betsy says:

    I must know: how was the duck?

  3. brett says:

    Duck hearts are actually quite tasty.

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