Duck & Run

Traveling through the Philippines it is easy to encounter many delicacies. There is the adobo, the lechon, the pancit and a host of other dishes that are readily available in restaurants and on the sides of the road. The fondness of my palette however, has always leaned towards duck. It is a bit darker than chicken, it has a much more robust flavor and it is layered in fat. It is delicious (my apologies to Daffy, Donald and the rest of the family).

With such a love of this winged fowl, it was my great delight to have such a meal prepared for me in the provinces of Sara. Papa Grapa (as I’ve come to call him now) prepared me a pot of duck adobo that was, as the Ilongos put it, “Namit” (delicious). Ducks: Quacky DucksUnlike such meals in the past though, I’m afraid I got to witness the gruesome death of the poor bird and it was a bit difficult to consume the meal without those images running through my head. After all, us Americans are accustomed to having our fowl gift wrapped in plastic, de-feathered and completely gutted. This was a new experience for me.

Ok, I’m a man, I can handle it. So just how do you accomplish the said task of preparing your dinner? I’ll tell you (that’s a disclaimer for the faint of heart).

Step number one: You catch the duck. – this is actually a fun step to watch and the 12-yr old running around the yard seemed to enjoy his chore. The duck was not as excited. I surmised that the duck had seen the upcoming ritual before as he ran with all his might around the yard, around the nipa hut and in between a few a small trees. The design of creation shortly took effect as the duck did not have half the energy of the young boy chasing him. He let out a few squawks as he was grabbed, flipped over and yanked up by his feet. While step one was undoubtedly traumatic for the poor bird, step two probably erased the bad memories (and probably some good ones also).

Step number two: Bludgeon the duck. – While the bird was in hand and successfully grappled by his feet, he was still putting up a fight, a pretty good fight too. This was quickly remedied by taking the bird and swinging him full force in a circle by the feet so that the centrifugal force extended his neck all the way out. With an outstretched neck, his head was smacked up against a tree and, though not dead, he was certainly much more cooperative.

Step number three: Drain the duck. – With our winged friend no longer objecting to his capture, the neck was slit and

How to drain a duck

How to drain a duck

the blood (as much as possible) was drained. Somewhere in the middle of this step our dinner began to put up a resistance so step number two was repeated once more for good measure. After a good amount of blood was drained, the bird was let loose to run around (too encourage the heart to pump I’m assuming) until the loss of energy and blood caused the animal to collapse. At this point step two was repeated again to put the poor soul out of his misery.

Step number four: Clean the duck – Feathers were plucked and pulled and the innards of the carcass were fed to the dogs (all of whom were salivating by now). With the guts gone and the feathers stripped off, the fowl looked as ordinary as any off the shelf bird handed to you by Pilgrim’s Pride.

It was all fairly gruesome and I couldn’t imagine myself performing such a task. Then again, if hunger beckoned long enough, I’m sure I would gleefully chase, bludgeon and gut the animal myself so I could have a bit of food. While vegetarians will probably parade this post as a herald for animal rights, it is anything but. Until we no longer need food, we have to kill what we eat (fish, chicken, duck, cow, whatever).

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