“How would you like your duck?”
One way to get me excited is to mention, offer, and talk about food. I like to consider myself a foodie and a devout follower of Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller, and the restaurant business in general. I love watching food shows on television – not so much the shows that feature the actual preparation of the food but shows that feature people traveling around the country and world eating food (think Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”).
I was excited all day yesterday knowing that I was going out after work with family and the girl to a restaurant that I love and haven’t been to in a while. It made the endless hours at my unfulfilling, monotonous part-time retail job seem not so endless at all. After having an idea of what I was going to order and scanning the menu for anything that might sway me from my original plans, I knew exactly what I wanted – DUCK!
I think I’ve only had duck once in my life and it was when I was very young and at a Chinese restaurant. From the little bit I can remember, the experience wasn’t that good. The duck wasn’t cooked well and for those that are familiar with the meat, the fatty layer on the outside of the duck was chewy and gross. Part of what makes duck so delicious is the fatty layer around the duck that gives it its rich flavor and texture. Duck is like the bacon of the poultry world. However, if you don’t cook it right, the fat becomes like steak grizzle – chewy and unpleasant.
Needless to say, I was excited over the prospective duck dish at a Thai restaurant that always has excellent food. When it was my turn to order, the waiter asked how I would like my duck cooked. I was taken aback as I assumed poultry always had to be thoroughly cooked. I asked him what he recommended and he said it’s best cooked medium rare. I went with his recommendation and my pea brain began screaming “SALMONELLA!”
The conversation in my head went as follows:
“What if I get salmonella?”
“They wouldn’t risk someone getting salmonella…they know what they are talking about.”
“But it is a Thai place…they’re not known for the best food handling practices and perhaps undercooked poultry is some sort of risky delicacy in their country.”
I called the waiter over and asked for the duck medium well, figuring that it ought to be cooked enough to kill any possible lethal bacteria while not turning my meat into shoe leather. Still nervous, I eagerly anticipated my duck.
When the dish was placed in front of me, I nervously took my first bite and it was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! Salmonella or not, it was worth every rich bite and a possible hospital stay was well worth this 10 minute experience.
When we left, I figured that I would put off the job searching process indefinitely considering I only had a few days to live as a result of the delicious poison I just ate. I didn’t want to spend my last few days on Earth furiously searching the Internet for jobs. Rather, I wanted to spend them how I wanted to spend them – eating cupcakes, drinking coffee, and probably racking up some huge credit card bills fulfilling all possible materialistic desires.
When I got home, I frantically told the girl to Google “ducks.” Initially refusing to submit to my insanity, she eventually caved in and handed over the computer. I actually learned that ducks aren’t susceptible to the same salmonella infections as chickens, are supposed to be served medium rare, and are actually considered red meat. Back to Monster…
At least it was a free meal, because, well…I CAN’T FIND A JOB!