Quail And Cornish Hens Are Not For Lunch

Welcome to one of my rare editions of What Not To Eat For Lunch. I like to think lunch is a poultry-friendly meal. Turkey sandwiches come to mind. Chicken salad. Salads with chicken. All manners of burritos, stir-fries and soups. So naturally, in my innocence, I assume all poultry is lunch-friendly. That, my friends, is how little kids get eaten at the zoo.

Last night I went to a friend's house to make a very simple Cornish hen recipe — crammed with wild rice and orange slices and glazed with sweet Dijon mustard. The whole thing was supposed to take an hour. I opened the fridge to see...large-ish black and tan birds. They kind of looked like sick ducks.

Long story short, I attempted to roast these unidentifiable gamebirds I suspected a sneaky Citarella employee hoisted off on my innocent friend. See? Little kids at the zoo. And the resulting uh...thing was basically inedible, tough and overly gamey. I still don't know what those things were, but I do know we sawed them apart to salvage a modest amount of meat, not unlike Hatchet. I've roasted guinea hens, that's not what those were. I texted Harvard Burrito in dismay — I know how to roast small birds dammit — and he assured me it was probably just street pigeon and we're all cutting costs. Then I made a joke about how it was fowl. He's nice.

Last year Assistant Contributing Editor Laila Gohar came back from that Indian place we're all obsessed with toting a takeout container full of quail curry. She then spent the next 45 minutes painstakingly scraping the delicious meat off its teeny bones with her poor vulnerable laptop in close proximity. Also, our office at the time was the size of a large walk-in closet. Needless to say, it didn't really work out.

In conclusion, stick to conventional birds when it comes to lunch.

More conventional birds for lunch on Food Republic: