Rabbit Could be the Most Sustainable Meat to Consume for Americans Part 1

In the light of economic, global and dietary climate concerns, why not begin to consider rabbit as an alternative to chicken?

“Floppy” was a Friend

As a youth, rabbit was frequently prepared at the home of my grandparents. From rural Texas and Central Louisiana, they had a friend from whom they purchased rabbit, venison, seasonal fish and game fowl. The meats they sourced were reminiscent of their childhoods. Meal preparations were simple, hearty and delicious. My grandmother’s gravy, often from the smothering of chicken, rabbit or liver, is the best I’ve had to date. When available, the rabbit’s gravy was often a delightful and substantial breakfast. My perception of the delectable rabbit has never changed. The night my father brought home a lovely, young, white flippity-flop as a reward for receiving straight A’s on my report card, I considered the new pet “possible food.” I never forgot about Grandmother’s delicious smothered rabbit. I knew one day, “Floppy’s” fate would be met. My father, an animal lover and a country boy, was not above spinning a yarn and serving us the beloved pet for dinner. Although it never happened, I reminded myself daily of the possibility.

Reacquaintance with a Childhood Friend

I didn’t eat rabbit again until I was 27 years old when my friends held their first annual “Who’s the Betty to Beat” cook-off. Participants drew vintage Betty Crocker recipe cards and were challenged to recreate the dish with personal touch, modern flair and “Betty Crocker-ness.” My card was “Chicken Cacciatore.” I elected to use rabbit to replace the chicken as my personal touch and modern flair, as I had grown weary of chicken. As the default protein, served regularly, eaten nearly daily and often featured, chicken and I had developed a relationship which required a generous amount of space. A short time passed and again, I ate rabbit. I worked as a waitress at a local, regional Italian kitchen. With great enthusiasm, I’d sell the house preparation, “cacciatore” or “in the style of the hunter.” The rabbit’s leg quarters were braised in stock, wine, tomatoes, carrots and onions served fork tender, as a panino with montasio and sour cabbage. It was often my shift meal before I left the restaurant to begin my nightly haunt.

Bugs Never Surrenders, without a Catch

The healthiest meat for consumers comes at a cost which is considerably higher than all other regularly consumed meats in the U.S. A whole rabbit now costs around $7.50/lb (up from $6.00/lb on average, in 2013) for a five-pound fryer with organs. Yet, rabbit is rapidly becoming, the original “other white meat” amongst the adventurous cooks, diners, and crowds who support sustainability. Rabbit is a specialty item typically found on menus of European restaurants. Higher costs are directly related to the rate at which the meat is consumed and produced. Now, rabbits are locally grown, small farmed products and are not subsidized by the United States government.
What this means for the consumer is meat that is low in fat and rich in flavor, at lower costs for higher quality. . . if you chose to raise them at home. At lower prices, is it not something to consider? Rabbits are the simplest of animals to butcher at home. They are also safer to consume as they have a lower cooking temperature, are raised off the ground, can be easily raised at home, and in nearly any climate for the highest quality production.

A Long Way to Hippity-hop…

Historically, a food of the rural dwellers of meager means world wide, in America, rabbits have maintained the profile of friend, favorite furry and giver of eggs, as per its association with Easter. As times shift, so will the role of rabbits. The costs and consumer ranking amongst America’s top consumed meats will also shift. And we will look forward to innovative creations from “foodies”, research and production from the environmentally conscious and advocates, all working to continue to shine new light on the rational delicacy.

Cuistance – World Food in Paris

Cuistance – World Food in Paris

My husband Tom and I love dining out and we do so quite frequently to write our weekly Paris Insights restaurant review.

A few weeks ago, we enjoyed a fine meal at a restaurant near Les Halles called Cuistance.

Cuistance

Cuistance
© Discover Paris!

The menu borrows from the Spanish tapas theme. The restaurant serves small portions and encourages customers to order three tapas as the equivalent of the traditional French entrée-plat* to share with their dining companions. The selections are fresh and exciting with international touches;  examples included Tataki de boeuf (Japan), and Ecrasé de burrata (Italy).

The restaurant is narrow and its décor is decidedly contemporary. Our servers were happy and proud to speak English with us. We were pleased with our choices from the menu.  Among the six savory dishes that we sampled, our favorite was Ecrasé de burrata, flocons d’avoine, pickles de mini maïs, riz soufflé, vinaigrette de noisette grillée, cress de basilic pourpre – a flattened portion of burrata cheese (a pocket of mozzarella containing fresh cream) covered with toasted wild rice, ears of pickled baby corn, and purple basal, all dressed in toasted hazelnut vinaigrette.  Delicious!

Ecrasé de burrata

Ecrasé de burrata

© Discover Paris!

The wine list is lovely as well, including the wines by the glass. I enjoyed a glass of Pouilly Fumé – Domaine des Fines Caillottes – 2012 from the Loire Valley and a glass of Maucaillou – 2011 from Bordeaux. Tom settled for a beer (Sol, from Mexico) with his meal.

As we were waiting for our dessert selection, a Mango-coconut soup topped with a honey-coated filo-dough crust, Chef Henri-Serge Manga emerged from the kitchen to inquire among the customers about their satisfaction with his handiwork. We asked a few questions about the ingredients in our dishes, to which he readily responded, and then he graciously posed for the photo below.

Chef Henri-Serge Manga, Cuistance Restaurant © Discover Paris! 

Chef Henri-Serge Manga, Cuistance Restaurant
© Discover Paris!

Chef Manga is of Cameroonian origin. He studied at Thames Valley University near London and has cooked in Japan and the renowned Fat Duck restaurant in Berkshire, Great Britain. He worked at a wonderful little restaurant called “Bon in Paris” 16th arrondissement prior to taking over the kitchen at Cuistance.

Cuistance
14 Rue Sauval
75001 Paris
Telephone: 01 40 41 08 08
Métro station: Châtelet Les Halles (Lines 1, 4, 7, and 14; RER A, B, and D)

*If you don’t know what entrée-plat means, then you may be interested in reading our new e-book Dining Out in Paris.  For more information, click HERE.

Monique Y. Wells is the co-founder of Discover Paris! and the creator of Entrée to Black Paris tours.

Courtesy
Tom Reeves
Discover Paris

The Publican 837 W Fulton Market Chicago IL 60607

Brunch Me – The Publican 837 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607

 

It’s Tuesday afternoon, work is dragging on and I’m in a group text already discussing with friends potential Sunday breakfast spots.

“We gotta try this new place. $7 unlimited mimosas, boom,” reads a text.

Call it a hangover recovery meal or just an excuse to keep alcohol in your system, Sunday brunch is the best reason to dine out.

It is a known fact, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet during the week I often skip it. Who has time really? Mornings are the opposite of my thing, but I am comfortable saying that I am one of those people who bases their social calendar largely around the food I will be consuming. Especially, when it comes to breakfast. Let’s be real, nothing motivates this girl more than the promise of a short stack.

So, on my most recent adventure to Chitown, my friend and I discovered the Fulton Market treasure that is the Republican. Imagine a large dining hall with long bench communal seating and vestibule booths. The “old-world” sense of décor added a cozy comfort to the meal’s experience.

Most noted for their pig-centric menu, we opted for Saturday brunch. Despite the overpriced mimosas, the corn beef hash paired with two fried eggs and crispy crunchy hash browns made me glad I woke up early. I was dazed at the cut and deliciousness of the pork belly bacon ($7) doused in just enough maple syrup. I savored every fatty bite. The seasonal lobster scramble ($20) made for an enjoyable fresh seafood find in the landlocked Midwest.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for an instagrammable classic corn beef hash, but as steep as the prices were, I’d absolutely put the Publican’s on my brunch roaster.

Stefanie Penn