"Pheasant, peasant? What a pleasant present?" --William Steig, Shrek
Upon returning home today from the winter forays I've been writing slices about this past week, I found a neighbor blocking our apartment entry with his truck. He apologized, saying sheepishly how this had never happened before. "No big deal," I responded. "We have stuff to unload ourselves, and we can just park behind you for now." He said he'd move the truck right away, to make room for us. We shuffled vehicles and proceeded to jockey bags to our respective doors. In the process, we all traded pleasantries about what we'd been doing since we had last seen each other. For us, skiing; for our neighbor, hunting.
"You like pheasant?" he asked.
"Never had it before," my wife and I replied.
Our neighbor said he had bagged more than he could use, so he would bring some by. I spent the next stretch of time fretting about bird heads with beaks or feathered bodies that might need my attention. Soon, though, a knock came at the door along with our neighbor bearing a plastic bag containing three cleaned ('processed,' I think, is the word) pheasants, ready for cooking. Convenience and carnivorousness go hand in hand, I now realize more acutely than I did before.
I turned to one resource that I thought might be able to help me out of this sudden culinary jam: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. Bittman didn't disappoint and, about 70 minutes later, my wife and I dined on pheasant braised with onions, mushrooms, and dried fruit, served over Israeli couscous.