Friday, November 03, 2006

St Hubert’s Day.

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Today, November 3rd …

This is the feast day of St Hubert of Liege, the patron saint of Belgium as well as the hunt and everything associated with it. Legend has it that Hubert was a wealthy, pleasure-loving young aristocrat in seventh century Belgium, and of all the possible pleasures of the rich and self-indulgent, he loved hunting the most. One Good Friday morning, the stag that he was pursuing in the forest turned toward him and Hubert saw that there was a crucifix between his antlers – and to cut a longish story short and cut to the culinary chase, Hubert saw the error of his worldly ways and promptly relinquished them and became a bishop.

St Hubert’s day is the beginning of the hunting season in many parts of Europe. In many places it is celebrated with a stag hunt – which seems an awfully odd way to celebrate the life of a man who gave up hunting for religious reasons. Surely he would be a more appropriate patron saint of vegetarianism, or the increasingly vocal “ethical eaters” such as the folk who have managed to get foie gras banned in Chicago?

The traditional St Hubert’s day hunt begins with the blessing of a special bread which is then shared out amongst the hunting dogs in the belief that it will protect from rabies. Other than the bread, all dishes “à la St Hubert” are based on some sort of game: you can chose from consommé, purée of pheasant (or any game), tournedos of venison, petites bouchées (“vol au vents”), timbales, and even an omelette.

The perfect accompaniment to one of those rich game dishes would be a good Cabernet Sauvignon from the Yarra Valley (Victoria, Australia) vineyard of the same name. The winery was established in 1862 by Hubert De Castella (whose Saints' Day would have been today), and in 1880 St Hubert wine won the award given by Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany's award for the most successful exhibitor at the Melbourne International Exhibition.

Recipe for the Day …

Omelette à la Saint-Hubert.
Fold into the omelette some purée of game meat, bound with a thick Demi-glace sauce based on concentrated game stock. Put on the omelette a row of sliced mushrooms, lightly fried in butter. Serve with a ring of Demi-glace sauce.

Story from November 3rd 2005 …

Green Peas from Adam and Eve.

Monday’s Story …

Salem Pepper.

Quotation for the Day …

There are two types of onions, the big white Spanish and the little red Italian. The Spanish has more food value and is therefore chosen to make soup for huntsmen and drunkards, two classes of people who require fast recuperation. Alexandre Dumas.


Anonymous said...

It's horrible to use a Saint who had an encounter with the Lord, and stopped hunting, to use him as a saint for hunters.
Hunters in the Bible (Esau, Nimrod and Ismael) were considered antagonists to God.
People will try to justify and rationalize their wants, but to use a Saint, is pretty disgusting.
God's Creatures Ministry

Anonymous said...

Saint Hubert is credited in creating a breed of Hunting dog. He also saw his "Vision" of a Golden Cross between a Stags horns while hunting.

DN said...

I always have to laugh at Christians against hunting or eating animals. They seem to forget a few major things: 1. That God gave us dominion over all creatures, 2. That God demanded the sacrifice of animals, 3. That all foods have been made clean for Christians, 4. The eating of meat is nowhere forbidden, 5. That of all the ways of obtaining meat, hunting actually seems to me to be the most humane as opposed to raising animals in tight quarters.

Hunting is not bad.