Pheasants

December 3, 2008 at 11:37 pm 3 comments

This first part is possibly not for the faint-hearted, but Monday saw me pluck my first pheasant. I’m afraid I wimped out of anything that involved fiddling around inside it, although (and I don’t know if this makes it any better!) not specifically because it was icky, but because I had thought that Scientist Boyfriend and I would be going to miss the preparation part and just turning up for the meal and thus I was all dolled up in my party frock and new winter coat (that I bought at enormous expense because it was the only one that wasn’t designed for women with the figure of a 13-year-old boy and which I wasn’t going to take off because it was bloody freezing!) and didn’t want to get them covered in, well, you know… pheasant. But the plucking (and being around the rest of it) wasn’t actually as icky as I thought, though. I was a bit worried about it, but something just kicked in and I got on with it. Partly because there was sloe gin on offer. Quite proud of myself, actually.

The things I’ll do for sloe gin, eh…

So we roasted the first tonight (the scrawny hen that Scientist Boyfriend did… I went straight for the big, erm, male one… I wonder if this is revealing in any way), with plenty of bacon on top to keep it moist (I normally find pheasant really dry, another reason I wasn’t enthusiastic about the project) and had it with potato and swede mash, roasted carrots, onion and garlic and steamed cabbage. I overdid the cabbage – I can’t help it, I’m British and sometimes I just boil vegetables to buggery – but otherwise it was a very wholesome, tasty meal. I was going to take a picture and post it here, but I can’t find my camera and didn’t want it to get cold.

Otherwise, I’ve just been very esoteric recently, reading a lot and listening to lots of conference speeches and writing letters of complaint to the BBC about Jimmy’s GM Food Propaganda Fight, none of which makes particularly good reading. I’ve made up my mind that I can’t carry on in a job that, given the credit crunch, is basically going to involve helping multinationals sack people for the next two years, at least not if I can’t freelance, and have made up my mind to do that MA starting next September, so have been frantically reading books on the food system, putting myself through personal statement hell and chasing up tutors from Oxford for references and other help and not had time for much else. So far, I’m interested in GM, famine, food aid and farmer suicides and other such cheerful topics. (Tesco in Thailand, too. I see a dissertation coming on.) And I might even carry on and do a PhD in something useful like urban agriculture, or work for an organisation that is doing something useful, or even think about a Soil Association apprenticeship given that what I would probably conclude after four years of academia is that we need more young people going into sustainable farming, and why shouldn’t I be one of them? (Capital constraints notwithstanding.)

I feel torn between my love of doing hands-on things and the fact that I’m just a great big geek. Ideally I’d like to grow things part-time and write part-time. But at least doing one full-time would be better than doing neither, which is where I am at the moment.

For those who are similarly inclined, the Soil Association conference is very interesting, my favourite moment being Vandana Shiva saing that, “[Hilary] Benn was naughty.” Vandana Shiva and the Feeding the World Conference is posting audio files and slides online. I listened to the presentation by Dr Michael Antoniou about how GM is based on an outmoded understanding of genetics and actually understood it.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. colouritgreen  |  December 4, 2008 at 11:41 am

    good luck with your plan

    Reply
    • 2. sproutingbroccoli  |  December 5, 2008 at 10:24 pm

      Thank you =)

      Reply
  • 3. Compostwoman  |  December 5, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Yes, good luck! The SA conference files are good, arn’t they!

    Reply

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The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

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"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."

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