Friday, November 25, 2011

Grouse Report

The problem with experimenting is, you never know what the outcome will be. After all, you're experimenting!

We'd never had grouse before, and we discovered a butcher in Holland Park who carries it (along with pheasant, partridge, venison and all sorts of semi-exotic cuts of meat). Dave found a recipe online for grouse with blackberry sauce, and since we love blackberries we thought we'd try it for Thanksgiving.

Dave wasn't happy with the outcome -- or with his stuffing or his roasted celery root. But then, he's hypercritical of his own cooking. I thought the stuffing turned out well, and the grouse was interesting, though not something I would order every day. It's a dark, gamey bird, and beyond the breast we didn't find much on it to eat. The sauce sort of worked -- at least, I could tell what flavor relationship they were shooting for -- but it wasn't bright or acidic enough, so again, not really a favorite.

We got pecan tarts for dessert, and they were yummy, and we had some pink champagne and some terrific Bordeaux recommended by the wine store specifically to accompany grouse.

And best of all, we had each other! We watched my favorite movie, "The Graduate," and then watched "Midnight Express" with Brad Davis, also an old favorite.

We had to make a last-minute appointment at the vet to have Ruby's abdomen drained -- despite the diuretics she'd grown so large that she couldn't stand up easily and she was having trouble breathing. They removed three and a half liters of fluid from that dog. Now she's much more at ease, but still on diuretics and consequently, still drinking like it's going to be her last drop of water. (The diuretics help her eliminate fluid but they also make her incredibly thirsty.) Bottom line, I don't know how long we'll have before she's ballooned once again. Managing that dog's fluid levels is certainly a Sisyphean task.

(Photo: An art gallery on Westbourne Grove near our flat, at dusk.)


  1. I'm not sure I could wrap my heart around grouse. :(

    The Graduate, though is one of my favorite movies of all time, and Midnight Express was my first R-rated movie that I saw when I was fifteen years old on a date. The boy's name was Sloat; I nearly died of embarrassment when the woman pushed her breasts up against the plate glass in the prison and Sloat never kissed me good-night. When we went off to college a few years later, he came out. So that's my memory of Midnight Express!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  2. I like that you guys are brave enough to experiment - & now I know I don't need to try grouse my own self :)

    I'm at my dad's house & mostly just skimming blogs, but I did want to mention that I LOVED yesterday's post.

  3. Grousing about the grouse...the little unappreciated bird going about its gamey life and than- decked out on a table with berries.... people saying "yuck" over it's little grouse corpse... I always stick to birds who just fall over dead - the chooks in my friends yard eat until they just fall over- it is a special breed making them plump and easy. Like me. Your pooch must feel like a million dollars having had the fluid drained! My human friend had that done twice a month before her heart bailed, every time she came back felling incredibly better- so good on you and your pooch- She must have done something really good in her last life to have become your pooch!

  4. FEELING, meant but felling also works in this context...