SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Carrier squab just doesn’t have the same ring.

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Shane’s at home making money, and I’m in Belgium spending it … on youthful pigeons?

The book is called Cooking with Belgian Beers, with recipes by Stefaan Couttenye, owner of ‘t Hommelhof restaurant in Watou, Belgium. When it comes to local Westhoek foodstuffs, it’s best to keep an open mind — not to mention mouth.

What Is Squab? (D’Artagnan)

Squab are young pigeons that have never flown. For thousands of years, they have been a favorite meal for every stratum of society throughout the world. They were unequivocally the first domesticated poultry, even preempting chicken.

This may surprise twenty-first century Americans. More often we think of pigeons as annoying denizens of city monuments and buildings. In fact, these are rock doves, a relative of pigeons, and far less edible. Yet squab is considered a most exquisite ingredient in cuisines as distinct as Cantonese, Moroccan and French. The simple reason for squab’s universal appeal is the delicate, succulent flesh, truly unlike that of any other bird. Squab is a dark-meat bird, like duck and goose, yet the meat is not nearly as fibrous, rendering it far more tender. Its flavor, when properly cooked, is a lush, rich essence, reminiscent of sautéed foie gras, albeit with more texture.

Thanks to MW for reminding me that life’s all about how you sell it. Let’s hope someone at Gospel Bird takes note.

As you read these winged words, our time in Poperinge (with Watou nearby) is through, but if squab made it onto the personal menu card, I’ll tell you about it later.

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