Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pheasant, an ethnic food, and other issues

I'm a big fan of the show, Iron Chef, on Food Network.  Each show there is a featured food.   I just watched one where the featured food was Pheasant. 

The Iron Chef was Morimoto, who is of Japanese descent.  I hope not to offend anyone.  My heart is pure on this.  Morimoto made really grand dishes saying that in Japanese culture, pheasant was reserved for Royalty.  Because he is not royalty, he said this was very special to him.

My grandfather was a farmer in mid-northern Willamette Valley in Oregon when I was in my teens.  His main money making crop during my teen years was Peppermint.  I've blogged extensively about that prior to very many people coming to my blog, when I was still talking to myself, so I should do that again in some form.

My grandfather had no grandsons, but he had 5 granddaughters and I has the oldest, plus 2 step grand kids.  His first name was Lee.  I was named after him and had a very special relationship with him.  But, he did not treat me delicately.  I was his grandson for every purpose.  To me, he was someone I admired and desperately wanted to please. 

For 2 years of high school and 1 year of college, he let me drive the Swather that harvested the peppermint.  Well, the truth is that the Swather cut down the peppermint.  It was fallowed by a machine we called the Chopper which picked it up and shot it into a tub on wheels which was sent to the mint still to de-still the mint oil. 

My grandfather insisted that any vehicle that I drove I was able to do basic service to.  Every morning, 5 - 6 a.m. or so depending upon weather, we fueled the equipment and serviced it.  I was proud and felt special that I could perform his service protocol and get out to the field doing exact what he asked.  But, the rest of the day was boring, and not difficult, but I felt that I was part of a bigger vision.  Back and forth across the field, turn and back, turn and back.  Grandma and the younger cousins brought presents which were stowed at the end of the row.  Bottles of cold/ice water or Ice Tea.  Boxes of sandwiches, pickles, other salad and pickles items, sweets. 

You'd see amazing things as you drove at 2 miles per hour across a 50 acre field of pepper mint.  Various birds and other critters.  From time to time, you'd see wild birds including pheasants which would be scared up by the machinery.  It was nearly an out of body experience, the things I saw.  Being boyish by nature, this was an interesting experience because the boys around would hunt the game that scared up.  I remember eating pheasant which I believe was cooked on a Weber kettle in the back yard.  My memory is a poultry that was flavorful and rich , but oily.  Game is not special to me and not regal.  It is very basic and earthy.  

Remember to deal with reality and earthy things first.


  1. I have similar memories of being on my Godparents dairy farm in Ferndale California. I got to drive the tractor while Herb (my godfather) dropped hay off the side of the trailer. I would not trade those memories for anything! LeAnn because of what we got to do, as kids, we too, are earthy things! I love it. Thanks for the memories booster.

  2. Thanks for repeating the childhood experiences.