Friday, July 6, 2007

Mutton birds

Enjoyed the German film 'The Lives of Others' portraying the before and after of the fall of the Berlin Wall in East Germany. Totalatarian governments are right to target the intellectuals because that is where the dissent is born and spreads to the will of the people. The film shows that those against the regime knew they had no chance of a revolution through force and yet little by little (74 years!) they changed the peoples' will and the Soviet Union dissolved away with virtually no blood spilt.
On a personal level it's hard to not feel powerless in the overwhelming world but it's amazing what drip feed can do. Look at the environmental movement. Seen as lunatics when they first started protesting they have now become so mainstream through the constant media attention of climate change that they are directly shifting government policy. You can make a difference!!
I enjoyed my first mutton bird for a long time. These are the young of our common seabird the sooty shearwater (of the petrel family) which fly to Stewart Island on the 13th September (yes like clockwork) and lay one egg in a burrow mostly on the 25th November which is incubated by both parents and hatches on Christmas Day. The Titi (Maori name) need to eat their weight of food each day and become little balls of fat which the Maori people harvest around the middle of March. The plucked birds are preserved by salting heavily and require boiling in several changes of water then crisped under the grill usually out the back in the shed because the smell is.....distinctive. The flavour is at once salty and gamey and I'm going to design a dish around it for the restaurant. Maybe a mutton bird and possum terrine.....

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