Sunday, January 09, 2011

Another of the advantages of country life... vegetarians might wish to look away...

Doesn't this look delicious? It's a brace of pot roasted pheasants, the sort of thing you see on those rather fancy cookery programmes. The only catch is that they're quite expensive and one pheasant only really feeds two people.

Or not, if you live in mid Suffolk, where an oven-ready pheasant costs £3.00, and there is plenty of game available, supplied by people who shoot for sport or as pest control. And at that price, braised in madeira, for example, they become very reasonable.

As a long-time 'big city' person, I grew used to eating pork, beef or chicken. Lamb is a bit expensive, and anything more 'exotic' than that was pretty pricey. Not here, where you can get quail, partridge, rabbit and hare in the local butchers, all properly prepared, skinned and ready to cook.

And yes, I can hear the cries of cruelty, and yes, I understand that the creatures have been shot, but that's how it works out here. When I hear the sounds of gunfire in and around Creeting St Peter, I know that the local wildlife is under fire. In London, I then expected the sound of police sirens. The pheasants are bred, with bird feeders set out for them, and the rabbits and hares are shot to keep numbers stable in the absence of obvious predators - I haven't actually seen a fox in the three years I've lived here, whereas they were an everyday occurance in South London.

It's all part of the different quality of life that rural communities have to offer, not necessarily better, just different. I get cheap pheasant, but it's a bit of a drag to the nearest Thai restaurant. On the other hand, if I'm organised, I can have just as diverse a cultural life, whereas in London I could be more spontaneous.

Just another phase of the adjustment, I suspect...


Duncan Borrowman said...

It is a million times less cruel than intensive farming

Jennie said...

Pheasant is almost certainly far less cruel than supermarket chicken.

I am of the view that if you will eat one animal, you should be willing to eat another. I don't get people who will happily eat cow but not horse, for example.

* shrug *

But then, my dad's a biology teacher.

Mark Valladares said...


I agree with you, as the animal lives free, suffers only the normal stresses and strains of life, and then dies. Under other circumstances, it would be at risk of being killed by predators, and nobody will persuade me that this is a less pain-free option for the animal.