The other day, a friend asked me what was so exciting about “waffles and chicken.” I tried to restrain myself but I burst out laughing. When he looked confused, I replied, “It’s ‘chicken and waffles’…the protein goes first!” You know what I mean. What is the first dish that comes to mind? Beef stew. Coq au vin. Lamb Wellington. Pepperoni pizza. As a general rule, the protein goes first, or at least after a few lovely adjectives. My friend asked me why this is so, and my immediate response was this: meat is the most important thing. Now I’m not basing my answer off of any facts or intense research; it’s just my strong opinion. I don’t mean to offend any of my vegan or vegetarian friends, but a salad does not and will not ever constitute a meal. You never hear people say, “It’s the greens of the business.” Meat and potatoes, yes. Veggies, no. I actually cried in McCrady’s restaurant last spring because of the duck, but couldn’t tell you what else was served with it. I’m sure it was all delicious, but I was after the soul of the dish, not the accoutrements. I’m not educated or refined enough to be considered a foodie, but I have no doubt that I am a true “carnie.”
I grew up happily eating seafood from the river and ocean just beyond the backyard and venison from the surrounding woods, but I tried my best to sneak all the vegetables to the eager Jack Russell under the table. She liked squash but was angling for the fried chicken – just like me. I will confess that I tried vegetarianism once as a teenager. My mother was on board, giving me sushi or salad with bacon bits. Doesn’t count, right? She was quite supportive, but I have put that bleak time behind me, and have been a devoted carnivore ever since!
All of this meat talk makes me hungry for one of my favorite things to eat when I was younger: wild dove wrapped in bacon. There’s something intensely satisfying about stripping that wonderfully fatty flesh off of the bones while delicately nibbling around the shot still embedded in the bird. Now that I’m living on my own and learning to fend for myself (takeout) and my father has taken a hiatus on bird hunting, I want nothing more. I guess I’ll have to distract myself with a cheeseburger.
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