Do not misconstrue me, Abby, there are acceptable instances of prey-offal. Eastern Asia boasts some of the most enlightened preparations of oxtail, pigs feet, and other extremities that yon gastronomic adventurer might hope to encounter. I, for one, shall always treasure my first encounter with ulo, that most expressive of Filipino dishes. But crispy pig’s head aside, not all gristle is made equal. And while our tongues are undoubtedly more nuanced than most, I’ve begun to suspect that the common man’s pallet–for all his pork chops and spare ribs awash in bottled caramel pigment number five–senses this truth. How many receptacles of flour-coated and peanut-oiled avian can one consume before confronting it? That tang of helplessness, that pungency of submission which no cook can disguise. There is no hiding the taste of a prey animal. You chuckle, Henry! And well you might, God knows we’ve all seen you try!
Of course, and let there be no mistake, humans are also prey animals. When one is walking alone in the woods and a stick breaks, one’s ears whip one’s head to engage one’s eyes in the search, and one stands as if frozen. Adrenaline swirls in one’s blood to fuel a superhuman flurry of action, should one need to flee or fight. One’s pupils dilate, to snare every photon’s worth of information. If I surprise a deer in the woods, her reaction is the same. This is the biological imperative of prey.
And on the note of color and shape, I direct your eyes to our centerpiece, which should be kept understated and with no more than one contrasting color. Oh, and before I forget it, tonight’s menu.
Arugula with diced apples and almond crusted Catshark
Spring black bear steak with a Portobello demi glace accompanied with saffron risotto