Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How do you like your duck?

Monday evening, one of our guests did not like our pineapple duck stew - Anatra all’Ananas. Why? Because it was not medium-rare as it should, in his opinion, be eaten. Since we care about our guests’ satisfaction and we understand that people have different tastes, we promptly replaced the unwanted bird with a different dish at our expense. But my concern is here about health because many guests order rare or medium rare lamb, pork, chicken, and fish.

Where is this unhealthy trend to eat raw poultry, fish, lamb and pork coming from? I am confindent that this is not an Italian thing. In Italy only certain parts of beef or veal and a few safe harvested shellfish can be eaten raw; most Italians would avoid items such as raw oysters or beef carpaccio or tartara unless they know where the food is coming from and how fresh it is; many Italians would not even eat a medium rare Florentine steak. In Italy, you would definetely not eat rare or medium rare pork, lamb, chicken, duck, or any type of bird. In Washington, this unhealthy habit is not supported by the State Department of Health that required us to add on our menus a line stating “Eating raw or undercooked meats, poultry, eggs, fish, or shellfish may increase your risk of food borne illness”.

At tidbit, whenever we have guests open to suggestions, we recommend to have their meat and fish well cooked. But if guests keep asking for medium rare meat or fish and they return it to us when it is not cooked rare enough, what else can we do? We think that more information or regulations are necessary. In the meantime we will have to continue to offer what people like.

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