Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Democracy rules, but I figured out a way to beat the system. Sort of. In case you think I'm planning a communistic takeover of Canada, don't flatter me . . . I'm talking about family politics here.

My neighbour (who is the deputy chief, and a fine, upstanding, non-commnunistic citizen) gave me two grouse yesterday. The kids, who like to eat grouse, were ecstatic. Here's where the "beat the democratic system" part comes in:

Me: Do you want to have grouse for dinner?
Kids: Sure, Dad, we love grouse.
Me: Fine then, I'll cook up the grouse.
Kids: You're such an awesome dad.

(They didn't really say that, but they were probably thinking it, at least until supper time.) I learned from experience to only give them enough information to gain the popular vote. No, it isn't cheating. There's nothing in the family politics rule book that says you have to give full disclosure. So I told them I was making grouse, and it was the truth . . . but I didn't tell them it was going to be my world-famous Vodka/Rum/Lemon Juice Marinaded Grouse Strips. In case you think this all sounds deceitful, consider the alternative. Here is how the conversation would have gone:

Me: Do you want me to make my world-famous Vodka/Rum/Lemon Juice Marinaded Grouse Strips?
Kids: Um, can you just cook it like, you know, normal Dads do?
Me: Aw, come on. Don't you want to try something different?
Kids: Nope. And you're out-voted Dad, two to one.

(They wouldn't really say that, but I would have lost the vote anyway) So you see, if I had gone with full disclosure, my famous recipe would have never been discovered. But creativity won the day, and now I have a recipe to pass along . . . for better or worse.

Here it is:
World-Famous Vodka/Rum/Lemon Juice Marinaded Grouse Strips
  1. Have a nice neighbour give you two ruffed grouse. Alternately, you can go out and shoot your own.
  2. Remember how tough and dry the grouse was last year
  3. Look on the internet for grouse tenderizer recipes, and pick one
  4. Realize that you don't have any of the ingredients
  5. Find an old bottle of vodka and an old bottle of rum on the top shelf
  6. Pour some of each over the grouse breasts (which you previously sliced into strips and put in a ceramic or stainless steel bowl). Pour enough in to cover the meat
  7. Add some lemon juice, just because
  8. Shake in some garlic and basil and whatever other spices you think your kids will tolerate
  9. Stir it around until all the meat is coated
  10. Put a tight lid on the bowl and hide it in the fridge so the kids don't suspect anything
  11. Let the meat sit for a couple hours, stirring occasionally (overnight is probably better)

I dipped the strips in an egg/milk mixture, then in a coating of bread and cracker crumbs with spices, then fried them in oil. You can add some parmesan cheese to the coating if you want.

I thought it turned out pretty good, far better than the dry, tough birds I've cooked in previous years. The kids were good sports about the whole thing, and even said they liked them. We saved a few for Erinn, and if she likes them I may even get to try the recipe again, with some slight modifications.

Speaking of food, you know things have gone from bad to worse when the experts tell you that eating lettuce can be dangerous. Click here. I take these revelations with a grain of salt. Do you know anyone that died of lettuce poisoning? I didn't think so.

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