Tonight we enjoyed the second of our beloved ducks for dinner. I never really had second thoughts or regrets about our decision to butcher them, but I know a lot of people were sad to hear that that was the decision we made.

Tonight’s dinner just reaffirmed our decision in my mind. I slow roasted the duck in the oven and it turned out PERFECT even though he was on the small side. It was the perfect amount of meat for our family and every single one of us loved it. Addison asked for more, and the boys ate theirs up with no complaint.  As we ate Addison asked if we could get more ducks next year. She thought it would be a good idea to get one for each of the kids. I asked her if she would be ok with eating them again, and she said, “Yeah, this is good!” Atta girl.

Then she asked her dad how he butched them. She’d asked me a couple times in the past and I always told her to ask her dad…I wasn’t sure the best way to tell her. I cast Wyatt a hesitant glance, but he proceeded to tell her exactly how we did it. Addison looked at me with big eyes and said, “Is that true?” I told her yes and she sat quietly for a minute. We assured her that they didn’t suffer at all, and that it was all part of how food gets on our plates. She continued eating and thinking and asking more questions. Dad asked if she wanted to help next time and she initially said no, but I think the wheels are turning. She’s definitely curious about how the ducks got from our yard to the oven. The fact that my five year-old is even conscious of such a thing makes this all worth it to me. She is not going to grow up thinking that chicken looks like a McNugget or that steak just comes shrink-wrapped from the grocery store.

For those who may have the chance to enjoy roasting your own duck, here is the link to the recipe I used. I followed it except that I cut the cooking time to 30 min for each of the last two rotations. Our bird was quite small compared to a grocery store produced duck. The glaze was the perfect mix of sweet and spice, and the meat was SO very tender. I hope you will have a chance to give it a try.duck 2

With our roast duck we also enjoyed pan fried potatoes that I cooked in duck fat saved from the first duck. The fat resembles bacon fat and keeps in the fridge for months.That duck was smoked for us by some dear friends, and he saved the fat in a little jar (thank you Cummings family!!!). It is INCREDIBLE to use for cooking. The potatoes were some of the best I’ve ever had. They had a little hint of smokiness and tasted almost as if they were cooked with bacon. SO GOOD. I’ve also heard duck fat is wonderful to rub on a chicken before roasting as a replacement for olive oil or butter. I’ll be trying that in the near future.

I feel good knowing that we truly enjoyed every single part of these ducks…from some favorite feathers which we used in a craft project, to eating every part of the meat. Even the carcass was enjoyed…we threw it out to the chickens and they made short work of it.

chickens

So in retrospect, I guess there are two things I want to take away from this experience. The first is that you don’t have to live on a farm to participate in the production of your own food. Raising these ducks was EASY. It took 8-10 weeks, and that was it. They had a great life in our yard and we learned so much from them. The second is that raising your own food really makes you appreciate it. It was a lot of work processing these birds and I truly think it made them taste that much better because we worked for it. Am I saying everyone should raise and butcher their own meat? No. Clearly not. But I am so very grateful that my family had the chance to do this despite the fact that we live in suburban Las Vegas. If we can manage this here, imagine what we could do out in the country! Ha!

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One Response to Why I’m Glad We Ate Our Ducks

  1. […] 4. Kids will learn that food does not come from grocery stores. It’s shocking to me how many children cannot identify very common vegetables. And it’s even more shocking that children (and adults) have no concept of HOW food gets on to grocery store shelves. One of  the most valuable things we can teach our children is that vegetables (and meat) don’t just miraculously appear at the local supermarket. Someone had to GROW it. And it’s hard work. And it takes time. And eating that food really is a GIFT. For more about how we are teaching our children about food production, you can head over HERE. […]

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