Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Great Squab Calamity 0f 2011

It has been some time since I posted, since coming to California to visit Dad. But I thought I would share an experience I "enjoyed" while visiting.

A couple of weeks ago, Dad decided that he would like to have squab, for dinner. Probably many people might not know what squab is.  It is a baby pigeon. Two And A Half Men had a cute episode worth watching, that mentioned squab. The Wikipedia has a nice article here. While baby pigeon may not sound like an exotic food, it is well know in French cuisine, as well as Chinese restaurants. My grandfather raised pigeons back in the 1930's and 40's. My Dad grew up eating squab on a regular basis, so it has a sense of nostalgia for him.

In the early 40's (in California) squab sold for about 15 cents a pound (a squab averages a pound), and so a group of squab raisers formed an organization called the Squab Producers of California. Grandpa Glass was on the board of directors when it was formed. They were able to band together, and standardize conditions and delivery methods and command a better price. This organization still operates, today.

So Dad drove into Modesto (the the Squab Producers of California) and purchase a dozen squabs. They are going for about $8 per pound, today and are sold frozen in shrink wrap packaging. He intends to host a party, featuring squab, so, as a test case, we decided to fix a few, and invited over a friend to act as test case. We decided to use a glass convection oven to cook the squab. This was a Galloping Gourmet" product that does a great job on chicken and would cook the squab, nicely. It leaves nice drippings in the bottom, for a fantastic gravy.

The fateful evening arrived. We had a little before dinner drink. I made a Southern Margarita (a margarita made with Southern Comfort- try it!). Soon the squabs were ready to be taken out of the cooker. The rest of the meal was ready, now I just needed to make the gravy. I had simmered the neck and gizzards for a long time, to produce a nice broth. Now I just needed to add the drippings to the pan. As I upended the heavy glass cooker (very thick glass), it slipped out of it's white handles (who knew they came apart) and I spilled drippings over the counter, cabinets, floors, myself and hardly any made it into the pan. Needless to say, I was upset. Denise, who knows just how serious I am about cooking, would have admired my reserve. I did not throw away the dinner, or set the kitchen on fire. I merely stepped into the shower for a quick cleaning, mopped up the kitchen and continued on. Everything turned out very nicely (with the exception of a very, very thin gravy).

We are now prepared to move onto a nice dinner, with some of Dad's friends. Dad has volunteered to cook the squabs, and I will take care of the side dishes. I'm kind of finished with cooking squabs. I wonder why?  I am sure that our future dinner will be nothing like the "The Great Squab Calamity 0f 2011".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, an interesting article, and I was thinking about purchasing one of those glass convection ovens, as seen on tv....

But I will not buy it, after reading your article...

By the way, some people here in Uruguay cooks in a kind of wood stove that has a front with glass and a top with cooking area, called COCINA ECONOMICA, they were used in ESTANCIAS many years before, and the argentinians make the ÑUKE brand, they are also useful for having hot water

I hope you enjoy July vacations...