When I walked in to the studio yesterday I was greeted by a pheasant lying lifeless on the table. Nice. Always the opportunist I quickly devised a lesson plan that gave the impression this session had been long planned and was very much a special treat.
My students drew the dead bird all day long and by home time had also designed a pub sign for a hostelry called, yep, you’ve guessed it, “The Pheasant”. Staring at the thing all day I noticed the colours of the feathers were stunningly beautiful- from ginger through deep chocolate to magenta, with splashes of irridescent turquoise: gorgeous. I loved the graphic quality of the red, black and white feathers around its head, not to mention the elegant long tweed inspired tail feathers draping so gracefully; the designer was clearly on good form that day. At the end of the session one student removed a speckled tail feather as a souvenir and exclaimed, “Oh! It’s got blood on the end.” “What did you expect?” I quipped and he promptly tried to push the thing back.
So, the pheasant shooting season begins tomorrow, lasting until February 1st and I can feel a winter stew coming on. When I told my students about the various cooking options for a brace of pheasants: pheasant in cider, pheasant pate, pheasant in milk, pheasant stuffed with mushrooms, Lincoln pheasant, and how the Italians cook it with pancetta, plenty of white wine and brandy, they were listening intently; drooling even.
That is, of course until I advised them to watch out for the shot.