Hospitality and the Duck

I think I’ve mentioned it before. Most Mennonites and other people I know are exceptional at giving people things. They know how to cook a big dinner, and invite people in, and generally the house has been cleaned before hand. There might even be fresh flowers and pleasant aromas and neatly manicured flower beds on top of a clean house.

I remember seeing research that suggested middle to upper class people are great at responding to disasters and helping out when it “makes them look good.” But to slog away in the trenches of service and “give and take” with people in need is less common.

Now, I’m not even that great at the giving end of hospitality, and I’m much too quick to get stressed out about what food to make, etc. Marnell is working on me in that regard! Marnell and the Holy Spirit.

But what’s much harder for me is receiving hospitality or generosity in unfamiliar or repulsive forms. For instance, our neighbor Janice brought me a baby dress that smelled like cat pee. It was mildly cute, but hard for me to accept. I think I’ve washed it three times now, and got the smell out. So there’s no reason I can’t use it. But I struggled. She also gave me a friendship bracelet, chipped and grimy. I tried to sanitize it before putting it around a vase on my window sill.

The other common thing is getting things from the food pantry. The same acquaintance tried to sell us onions and mixed fruit from the food pantry the other day to buy cigarettes. We didn’t purchase anything.

But then there’s the duck.

This one comes from our friend Chris, who we both enjoy a lot. He’s been through a lot of tough times, and learned to play Scrabble well enough in prison that he beats me from time to time. He comes for supper occasionally, and likes to bring things along.

This is the ideal kind of hospitality – don’t get me wrong – where everyone contributes. In fact, he’s had us at his apartment before too, and when a cockroach crawled up the wall behind me, he calmly got up and killed it and everything was fine.

But this better kind of hospitality is harder than the “invite people like yourself” kind. I don’t always know what to do with the things he brings.

The other day, Chris was going to come over. He wasn’t feeling the greatest after getting his second Covid shot, and so he decided to stay home. Marnell stopped in to check on him and drop off a little food, and came home with a meat injector kit and a large frozen duck.

Now, I really don’t want a duck taking up space in my freezer. I don’t have any idea how to cook it. I guess I’ll thaw it out the next time Chris comes and try injecting it with the flavoring kit he sent and drop it in the oven. I’m sure it’s from the food pantry, and that’s okay. If I needed to get food from a food pantry, I’m sure I wouldn’t always know what to do with the groceries that get donated.

But what do you cook to go along with duck?

And how do you carve it? And what do you do with the leftovers? And what if it’s not even good?

“This duck is stressing me out,” I told Marnell last night. He’s there, invisible in the freezer (the duck, not Marnell), but kind of ever-present.

We chatted about it for a bit, and Marnell made a comment about the conversation being a bunch of quack. Later we talked about it again and he started quacking. Typical!

I’m glad to have a give and take relationship with our neighbor. I think hospitality is best experienced when it goes both ways.

But seriously. Any tips on how to cook and eat a duck?

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

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25 thoughts on “Hospitality and the Duck”

  1. Joanna Graybill

    Rub some seasoning over that duck and roast it in the oven. Come to think of it I would probably use an electric roaster if I did it again because chicken is excellent like that. I really liked duck when we had some a few years ago and I’m always wishing I could have some again๐Ÿ˜Š
    Best wishes for the end of pregnancy and baby time! It’s hard work but so worth it. I have 11 children. Precious blessings ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿงก

  2. Duck meat is very good! If you like the dark meat in a turkey or chicken, you’ll like duck. What to make with it? Anything you like with turkey or chicken. I promise it will be quacky good! ๐Ÿคฃ

  3. Accidentally sit it outside to thaw & pray a neighborhood dog devours it! Sorry duck lovers๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ™ƒ

  4. My uncle & his wife would cut up a large duck just like a chicken..legs,thighs,etc.,& fry it up like chicken… it tends to be more greasy than chicken,& a bit more tough. You could probably soak it in salt water overnight, (as a tenderizer) . Or even use an Instapot…

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      Well. Confession. I’m not sure that I’ve ever cut up a chicken either! Maybe this is my problem. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Jacinda Rosenberry

    If u have a turkey fryer u could fry it in peanut oil! My mom used to roast it in the oven. They serve duck feet in high class restaurants in NYC! ๐Ÿ˜‚

  6. Katrina, i love your mirthful Saturday posts. They’re my laughter tonic…because well, Saturdays aren’t my favourite day of the week by any means.
    Duck is delicious. Cook it any way you please and you can’t go wrong…

  7. I’ve had duck once at a friend’s house many years ago. I would roast it like but I don’t know for how long. I would check some YouTube videos. As for what to serve with us, probably some rice pilaf and your choice of veggies would be delicious with it. Let me know when you cook it so I can invite myself over for dinner.๐Ÿ˜„

  8. We raise and eat Muscovy ducks. We cut it up ahead and cook it in the crockpot overnight or all day until it falls off the bones. Our favorite is with stir fry vegetables with sauce over rice. I have also ground it in my food processor and added sloppy joe sauce and eat in buns.
    If it is a different kind of duck I have heard they are greasy. Muscoveys are not. Enjoy!

  9. I know how to roast a duck, Katrina. Crispy golden skin, moist meat inside. Youโ€™ll totally fall in love with duck and will be begging Chris to bring you more. ๐Ÿ˜„ Iโ€™ll text you all my secrets.

  10. I was looking at frozen ducks in the grocery store just yesterday, wondering how they would taste and really wanting to get one. They were around 20.00 each so I passed them by. Enjoy that gift when you do get it cooked!

  11. I remember my mother making duck one year for our family Thanksgiving / Christmas meal. If I remember, it was DELICIOUS just like almost EVERYTHING else she made! I also remember it being more greasy than chicken / turkey, She made filling (mashed potato & bread filling) & I’m SURE she also made gravy! You might want to save the duck to make when you’re REALLY ready to have that baby – it might do as much good as castor oil does for some women!! : )

  12. I’m a bit jealous! We haven’t had duck for a couple of years, since we can’t have them at this place–we had a huge flock at the last place we lived. I simply sprinkle salt over the skin, put it in a roaster, cover, and bake for a couple of hours at 350*F. Delicious! It’s a favorite meat in our family.

  13. The easiest way is to use one of those oven roasting bags. Follow the instructions on the Reynolds website. Also, save the fat! Ducks have lots of it and it makes scrumptious oven fried potatoes.

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