According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, annual averages for 2015 time use surveys show women spending 37 minutes per day in ‘food and drink preparation.’ This is about 27% of all their household activities. This compares to 17 minutes spent by men; 20% of their total household activities. As I learned in Michael Pollan’s Cooked, this category basically counts up minutes spent opening packages and warming prepared food, assembling the prepared ingredients of a sandwich, and of course any actual chopping or preparation of food in a traditional sense that may occur.
When I read this, I remember commenting to my husband that it was shame that the category had been degraded to include the minimal work to assemble mostly prepared food into a meal. He reminded me that there was a time when we also thought some meals came at least partially from a package, too. Maybe we would opt to add some veggies to the very sparsely populated Trader Joe’s veggie risotto, but we often started with a packed base.
Today, my time use survey would skew the results a bit. I am well into hours in the kitchen as opposed to minutes. I find myself prepping things morning and evening. And before I left my day job, I found myself more often than not running home at lunch on work days to cook. Yet my husband also reminded me that I am not scalding or plucking chickens. My work would probably be considered similarly scaled down and simplified from what my grandma did.
And it is. That leads me to the rabbit. My mom tells stories that my grandfather’s hands were too thick (and strong) to do the quick work of killing the rabbits she ate growing up. My grandmother was apparently disappointed by this sloppy work and felt terrible for the little rabbit. She took to doing them (in) herself without asking for her husband’s help anymore. Her fine hands, skilled at embroidery, could snap the neck (hear my mom making a clicking sound) in a precise, and therefore very quick, way. And then a good, deliberate cut down the middle and off came the fur in one fell swoop. (Hear my mom “swooshing” here.) So yes, my husband was right. (Again.)
Bringing it all together
In the meantime, rabbit doesn’t seem to have gone the way of chickens yet. I remember chickens with the liver, heart and neck inside, but not lately. Chicken livers seem to be trending and all the pastured farmers I know are reserving them and packaging them to sell separately.
Rabbit, not so much. Perhaps they are not being slaughtered in bulk yet, making half or one pound packages of rabbit liver viable. Perhaps people just aren’t asking yet. In any case, the few rabbits I have purchased over the past few years have all had the heart, liver and kidneys included inside. The Amish one I recently purchased had the beautiful little kidneys still attached. So what to do with these extra odd bits? Throw them in!
This recipe for braised rabbit is adapted from Allegra McEvedy’s Tuscan-style Pappardelle with Coniglio (rabbit) in Borrowed, Bought and Stolen. I appreciates that she even suggests adding the blood, if you have it. My grandma would have, no doubt. I’ve never had the privilege.