Sunday, December 31, 2017

Swans or Squabs

Swans or Squabs? That's what would be a-swimming today in our 12 Days of Christmas.  Through the many years of variations, it is dominantly seven swans a-swimming with only one version in 1900 of squabs a-swimming.  This doesn't make much sense as 'squabs' are pigeons, and they don't swim.

Squab in culinary terms is a young domestic pigeon, typically under four weeks old. They have been raised commercially in North America since the early 1900s.  It is remarkable given that they are fed by both parents until four weeks old, so one keeps pairs of pigeons to produce squabs.  A pair can produce 15 squabs a year.  This used to be the staple of Chinese-American restaurants, but industrial chicken has taken over.  Squab is still is part of Chinese holiday banquets, such as Chinese New Year.

As time has gone by, squab has become a specialty item and is served in haute cuisine restaurants by celebrity chefs.  "Squab at Alinea"  in Chicago, an acclaimed restaurant, is one of the courses in a 14 course tasting menu.  Or how about the Old Homestead restaurant in New York City.  It offered a four person meal for $8,750 a person and one course included squab alongside the turkey.  This was in 2015.  And Now Magazine in Toronto covered T.O.'s top 5 game dishes and there was Pigeon Pie (Squab) at Borealia. The article covers game dishes including quail, rabbit, Ontario venison, and game meat sausages.

Our year concludes today and we count anew tomorrow.  Here are two images of Jordan Valley from yesterday's walk - they represent the sunset of one year and the new dawn of the next.  

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