Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hunting in Zeeland

There are many things that Zeelanders do well, but, cycling aside, two activities that seem to occupy the bulk of their time are farming and hunting. Driving through this region (on either side of the Netherlands/Belgium border), it's not unusual to see a half dozen men standing in a field with their rifles and hunting dogs, waiting patiently for some unlucky pheasant, duck, or hare to cross their path. And so, when we were invited to tag along on one of these hunting expeditions, we jumped at the opportunity. (Well, not exactly "we" - one of us had to stay with the baby, after all... and since I would probably be a bit squeamish once the actual shooting began, I volunteered for baby duty.)

Tobi brought Felix along as his trusty hunting dog, and ended up regretting it. Apparently, our over-energetic Labrador was on his worst behavior, pulling madly while he was on the leash, running every which way while he was off the leash, not listening in the slightest, and "fetching" one of the hunters pheasants, then proceeding to take off with it and toss it around like a rag doll.

Some other interesting developments were... the pheasant that fell to the ground but wasn't yet dead, until, that is, a farmer's wife, who had joined the hunt to look after their (much better behaved) retriever, quickly snapped its neck. Or the end of the hunt, where Tobi prepared the animal for consumption (you mean the animal wasn't always a headless, featherless, piece of meat?)

While Tobi was gone, we cleaned up a bit, played, and took a walk at dusk.

For dinner we had, you guessed it, pheasant. Tobi stuffed it with diced apples and made a delicious marinade and gravy, and served it with sweet potatoes (which we miraculously found in the city of Breda, a mere hour's drive from here). It was really very tasty, until the events of the day began unfolding at the dinner table.

As carnivores, we can be so hypocritical, don't you think? Yes, I like meat, but I don't want to know anything about the animal that I am consuming, thank you very much! If only our ancestors could see us now...


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the chuckle! That's probably the last time Felix will take Tobi hunting (:
Off to Boston tomorrow morning.



Miriam said...

Hi Liz,
Just to let you know you don't have to all the way to Breda for sweet potatoes - you can find them in the Turkish toko in Goes (along with all kinds of pulses, spices and weird vegetables). It's on Wijngaardstraat, behind the Market square. Just look for the shop with boxes of veggies outside!!!