I Love the Smell of Duck Fat in the Morning

The world though duck fat

I have just finished hosing down the interior of our home from a yuletide explosion of duck fat. In fact, this could be a new colour swatch on the Sherwin Williams paint chart….Misty Morning Duck Fat. I could have used a culinary HAZMAT team in here.

I cooked two duck(s) for Christmas and meticulously followed a recipe I had seen on television. It didn’t work. It didn’t work as well as some of the duck I had tried before…so…live and learn. I should know better than to believe anything I see on television.The meat was juicy and tender at the table but the crispy skin never really materialized despite the heavy salting and three days of refrigerated air curing that I put the birds through. It was a fairly short cooking time at high heat and the resulting ( and aforementioned) duck fat weather system that enveloped our living space was impressive. I often caught fleeting glimpses of other family members struggling with their eggnog through the smoke. The brief bursts of flame in the oven were festive in a spontaneous yule log sense.

By the time it all emerged, every smooth surface in the kitchen was glistening with duck fat.  I didn’t need to eat the duck. I was the duck. I had duck fat in my hair and on my glasses. I was gazing at the world through duck fat, which is a tad smeary for my tastes. My 90-year-old mother-in-law, who stood faithfully by my side acting as a kind of kitchen-lieutenant for most of the afternoon and who had to hold fast to the kitchen island to keep from sliding away, was coated in duck fat as well. All she said when the smoke finally cleared was, ‘I usually brush the bird with a little warm salted water to get the skin crispy ‘. I’ll listen to her next time.


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