Until last night, I was an avowed Obama voter. I felt passionately that the amoral cabal currently in power are the worst thing ever to happen to this country, and that they have truly pried open the gates of hell, lubed the tracks, and cut the brake lines in order to get us there as fast as possible, all the while pillaging the astonishing wealth of this nation so that their corrupt, greedy comrades can gorge ever more voraciously on our childrens’ very future. I knew in my heart that the fear, hate, lies, torture, and murder that they have wrought upon this Earth have earned them the kind of eternal torments that they and their supporters fervently believe await those of us who believe differently than they do.
But then Sarah Palin winked at me. Winked. At ME. And in that moment (many moments, actually, plus she also wrinkled her nose in that adorable way she has) I realized that she likes me. She’s into me. She wants me. Badly. So I’m voting for McCain. Because when he dies- and he will, either on account of he’s decrepit, or she’ll poison him- then she and I will rule the world together, along with our children Brick, Stud, Buick, Cretin, and Popover. And we’ll show you all that jobs creation really is the what the bailout is about so that working families who you know share the values which we all share, especially the values like working families care that this economy which is certainly uncertainty and the American people have concerns like I do about all of these issues of course, and the other issues as well like where’s that goddamn knitting needle so I can stab myself in the brain.
But in the meantime, I figured I should feed my first wife and current child, so I pulled some duck out of the fridge. Yesterday, returning from the duck-procurement run, I pulled over outside of town and grabbed three sumac bobs off a small tree and tossed them in the car along with a few walnuts that were on the ground nearby. I didn’t get to the walnuts, but the drupe-a-licious panicles (Heather just got damp) set my mind a-whirling with possibilities. A-whirling, I tell you. I’m always annoyed that citrus has to travel from so far away, no matter what the season, and we don’t have a giant greenhouse to grow our own. Sumac has lots of vitamin C, and a strong acidity that’s almost citrusy, and yet it’s considered a weed, growing by roads and parking lots and ignored by pretty much everybody. I remember when I was a kid we used to make sumac tea by infusing the fruit in jars of water in the sun and then adding honey, so I used that tea as a jumping-off point to make reduction sauce for the duck.
I stripped as much of the fruit off the sharp little branches as I easily could, and threw it all in the blender with about a quart of water. After a 30-second blast, I put the jug in the fridge overnight. Today the liquid was a deep garnet and had that lovely tangy taste. I strained it into a small pot and added a few pink peppercorns, a pinch of 5-spice, a pinch of 7-spice, a generous glug of maple syrup, and a spoonful of the plum “sauce” from last fall (actually a barely-sweetened jam that didn’t jell properly, but turned out to be a genius duck and pork sauce.) I reduced it to a glaze.
I also roasted one of our kabocha squash, and in a bit of the rendered duck fat sautéed our last three little zucchini from the one plant that managed to survive the powdery mildew plague that put a big hurt on our cucurbit bed after a long wet spell in August. And I pulled up a leek and made crispy leeks in the duck fat because leeks crisped in duck fat. It all came together well, and the über-local sumac sauce was a hit. I will definitely be picking more throughout the winter. Ice cream might be next. We drank a 2005 Joguet Chinon “cuvée terroir” which has a fantastically compelling nose that wrinkles flirtatiously, but is kind of tight in the mouth, like it’s frowning a little as it flips through a stack of index cards for an unused talking point.
PS When McCain dies, he’ll be thinking of my darling Sarah, saying “I totally coulda hit that, if only Cindy hadn’t cock-blocked me every step of the way; didn’t she know I was a POW?”