I Am Curious ... Rabbit

another thingsiate.org exclusive

Since the dawn of time, when man first put two sticks together and fashioned a crude antenna beanie, our species has contemplated the delicious nature of rabbit meat and how to sell it. In a travesty of evolution and capitalism, rabbit has become increasingly difficult to find, to the point where many children don't even believe in Herman Pelphrey.

But then ... well, as with all great discoveries, this one started with a man accompanying a woman on a shopping trip. The West Point Market in Akron is a wondrous place for gourmet and imported foods. Low on lutefisk? It's shipped in daily. Hankering for quail eggs? Not only do they have it in stock, but you can be fussy about which brand you prefer. In fact, they've got more brands of quail eggs than they have brands of toilet paper, which should give you a sense that you don't go there for your normal grocery shopping. Rather, you go to the West Point Market when you need the very finest of food products, and you can expect to pay through the nose.

So anyway, as my shopping companion was making a pit stop, I decided to do some browsing in their Dead Thing department. And as I was taking in the panorama of animal parts ... I spotted it. I can now confidently report: Yes Virginia, there is a Pelphrey, and Pel-Freez rabbit meat is no myth.

Now, as with all explorations of great works of art, we begin with the presentation. Displayed prominently on the box is their new slogan: "An International Delicacy". Even their serving suggestion is a far cry from old Pel-Freez ads, where barbecue seemed to be the preferred cooking method. Well now, that tells us a lot about where Petey has gone: he might be a fine pitchman in rural Arkansas, but what plays in the sticks just won't fly in Paris. Were Petey to regain his post as the visible face of Pel-Freez, he would have to take on a whole new, suave, sophisticated demeanor. I imagine him grown up, wearing a tux, and instructing a waitress at a casino: "I like my rabbit meat shaken, stirred, fried, broiled, stewed ..."

When I first opened the box to start grillin' me up some rabbit meat, I encountered an initial difficulty: all three pounds of meat (with giblets) had frozen together into one solid mass. Dejected, I put the box into my refrigerator to slowly defrost, and put my plans on hold for the day.

By the next morning, the meat had indeed defrosted enough to cook, and so I resumed my plans. There were a total of eight pieces of rabbit meat, and I had decided to try a variety of preparation methods: first baked sans augmentation, then breaded, then barbecued, and so on. But after cooking up my first piece, I changed my plans. Rabbit meat is absolutely delicious of its own accord, and any attempts to gussy it up only detract from its natural cottontailed goodness. Imagine a really high quality piece of chicken. Now imagine it tasting at least twice as good ... that gives you a basic sense of what to expect with rabbit meat. Juicy, tender, flavorful, it may well be the best other other OTHER white meat on this earth; and over the course of a few days, I happily devoured piece after piece, never having to worry about preparation other than making sure it was fully cooked.

The biggest problem with rabbit, alas, is that it's mostly all bone. Maybe it's just the mutant rabbits "raised" on "farms" by Pel-Freez, but on about six out of the eight pieces I studied, I had to work for each and every succulent bite. There were only two profoundly meaty pieces (they seemed to come from the rabbit's ribcage area), and those allowed me to enjoy hunk after grisly hunk.

So there you have it. The legends are true: rabbit meat is something to go nuts over. If you can get past the notion that you're eating Thumper, and you can find a source of Pel-Freez rabbit meat at affordable prices, you won't be sorry.