Sunday, February 11, 2007
This prompt makes me think of a conversation we had over dinner last night. We were invited to dinner at the home of one of my husband’s colleagues. He and his wife are French and when the main course was served, the wife remarked that at least the dish wasn’t rabbit. Apparently they had discovered in the course of their entertaining Americans that rabbit was not always well received. Americans tend to regard rabbit as a pet, not a food. I’ve never been served rabbit in the United States although I have had it in Paris and in Italy. As meat goes, it is fairly benign in my book.
Of course that led to a number of food stories. We compared notes about challenging foods. We came up with bird’s nest soup, a French dish made of whole songbirds (orlotans)—for an interesting article about this dish click on this link—no one at the table had partaken of this delicacy as the birds are now endangered, some strange ways of preparing shrimp and so on.
My favorite, slightly shameful, food story was shared. A couple of years ago, my family and I traveled to Italy. We wound up eating one night in a delightful little restaurant in the small town of Apricale. It was one of those restaurants that didn’t have a menu—the proprietor discussed the food with you and then served it. The meat course was rabbit.
Younger son declined but older son gamely (pun intended) decided to try it. I think all would have proceeded smoothly except that before the meat dish, we had several rounds of appetizers, served with generous quantities of wine. My husband and I became a bit jovial due to the wine and atmosphere. When the rabbit dish finally arrived, my son started poking at it a bit dubiously. The meat was served in a generous sauce so it could have been from any one of a number of small animals but kids are kids. “Bunny bones,” he declared. Well, my slightly inebriated husband and I couldn’t help but laugh. The coup de grace, however, was when said husband decided to do his Elmer Fudd imitation. His rendition of “Kill the wabbit” definitely put my son off rabbit, maybe for life. Two years later, my son still gets very annoyed if we sing this song. So, being good parents, of course we do. I’m sure he is scarred for life but he has to have something to tell his future therapist.