Duck, Duck, Goose: Hank Shaw on Cooking Waterfowl and His Truly Epic Book Tour
Will I eat duck after this tour? Sure. But I might need a break from it for a bit...
JRG: You aren't hunting, fishing, and foraging much during the time you’re on the road, right? Is that a real adjustment for you?
HS: Yes it is. I am a little bummed out about it, but it's really, really important to me to get the word out about Duck, Duck, Goose while people are thinking about ducks and geese -- the holiday season and while hunting season is still on. But there's always next year!
JRG: What have you learned since you’ve been on the tour? What’s been your favorite moment so far?
HS: I've learned that I need to take good care of myself on the road: Night after night of dinners takes a toll. I find myself eating very simply when I am not at a dinner: Good bread, some salami, and a glass of wine is all I normally need on a "night off."
My favorite moment? When an old man walked up to me in Montana. He looked like he was over 80 years old, and had led an outdoor life. He came up to me looking angry, and I thought, "Oh here we go..." he said, "You know that duck breast recipe you got? The one where you cook it rare, like a steak?" I said yes, bracing for a diatribe against eating duck that rare. But he surprised me: "Best goddamn duck I ever ate. But damn it, that made me think about all those years I'd been ruining my ducks. I been doing it wrong for 70 years!" That moment made the tour for me.
JRG: What’s your favorite recipe in the book … and what makes it your favorite?
HS: No fair! That's like asking me to choose between children. I think my favorites are the simple recipes that involve technique: The simple duck breast recipe and the instructions on how to make duck confit. Once you master those two skills, you are well on your way to becoming a skilled duck cook.
JRG: Did anything surprise you and Holly in the making of this book?
HS: Yes, actually. We were surprised how versatile duck and goose is. I kept asking chefs all over the country what flavors or ingredients don't work well with duck, and other than oddball stuff like marshmallows and gummi bears, pretty much everything works! This is the reason that duck is so widely eaten all over the world.
Get a copy of Duck, Duck, Goose and get inspired to cook (and even hunt; seasons vary by state but they're open now in California).