Friday, March 26, 2010

Forbidden meat - The sect of the rabbit

It took us a while to understand that it was NOT ok to ask for it. Every time we did ask for it, we were met by shocked or disgusted looks: "no, we do not sell it", was the standard, brisk response.

The worst actually happened at Whole Paycheck, (also known as Whole Foods, the organic supermarket where you can go and shop only shortly after you have received your paycheck, because you are going to need all the money you have. But, let's face it: the meat and the fish there are way better than anything else you can find at Jewel Osco's or Dominick's): "we don't sell bunnies", said the tattooed hip employee standing behind the meat counter, sporting a very elaborate hairdo, only partially hidden by a paper cap.

That's when we understood: it is apparently not common - to say the least - to ask for rabbits (or poor little bunnies) here. And that seems odd, considering that you can find rabbit in a couple of restaurants in Chicago.

Now, you have to understand this: "il conigliolo in umido" is a pretty traditional Tuscan recipe (you can find it here), where the tasty little beast is cooked with tomato sauce and black olives. And the "lapin a' la geuze" is one of the traditional recipe in Belgium (where my wife comes from), where the sweet little animal is cooked with a typical Belgian sour beer (this is a recipe in English). I can live without the conigliolo. She apparently cannot live without the lapin. Especially now that Easter is approaching.

And so our quest continues. At the French market (a disappointing market with a few stands in the West Loop in Chicago, where we went to explicitly look for this forbidden meat) we may have had a breakthrough. Nonchalantly approaching a butcher's, we asked for various types of meats (a diversion!) , and then, in the end, almost like an afterthought, we went for the real thing: do you carry rabbit?

Now, you should have seen the face of the butcher. He smiled, like if he had recognized someone belonging to the same sect. Then he recomposed himself, almost immediately. He went to pick up a business card, handed it to us and said "we can provide rabbit for you: just call this number". I thought he would ask us to memorize the number and then eat the business card, like real secret agents do (don't they?), but he didn't.

So soon, we may have our bunny. Oh, forbidden bunnies...

4 comments:

MMM said...

Mmmm...rabbit. You could always go and hunt your own, no?

Tuscan foodie said...

Hi MMM, welcome. You know, I have seen a lot of squirrels in the park, but not many rabbits...

kennyz said...

Rabbit is pretty popular in Polish cuisine too, and you can find fresh bunnies at several POlish markets on the NW side, inluding this one, which is my favorite:

Calma Optimal Deli
5155 W Addison St
Chicago, IL 60641
773-545-9227

Tuscan foodie in America said...

Welcome Kennyz, and thank you for your comments! I will definitively go and have a look at the place you recommend...

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