Un vrai canard: Duck and French Culinary Traditions

Do you associate ducks, along with snails and frogs, with traditional French cuisine? If so, you’re hardly alone.

I do, too. And I often wonder, like many of us who write about food, just how some of these traditions begin.

I think the answers might appall or thrill us.

Last week, I read an old news story about Michel Rouyer, a French farmer from La Gripperie-Saint-Symphorien who tried to rid his ducks of worms by feeding them marijuana. I couldn’t help but think of Alice B. Toklas’s recipe for hashish brownies, found in her eponymous cookbook. Is it a French thing?

I don’t know.

But think about it – in Normandy near Mont St. Michel, sheep graze on salt grass and that produces the venerated agneau de pré-salé, or salt-marsh lamb, preseasoned as it were by the salt flavors of the grass it eats before slaughter …

To be continued …

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