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Rabbit stew

Since we discussed the ebb and flow of foraging yesterday, it's only logical that we next turn to a meat that was once popular, faded into the background, but is now making a comeback: rabbit. As Noelle Carter of the L.A. Times notes, although rabbit consumption hit a peak in the U.S. during World War II, it nearly disappeared in the prosperous times that followed. Rabbit has enjoyed more sustained popularity in other countries (many of the rabbit recipes in the EYB library hail from the UK and Australia).

The time seems to be ripe for a rabbit resurgence in the U.S., according to Ms. Carter, because "in an era when game meats and nose-to-tail eating are redefining fine dining as food sport, rabbit is both familiar and exotic enough to appeal." Chef Ken Addington notes "It almost has a prohibitiony quality to it, like it was something your grandfather ate. It's a great 'old-fashioned' meat." Addington, who co-owns restaurants in Los Angeles and Brooklyn, NY, continues, "We've always had rabbit on the menus in Brooklyn. It's a fun, versatile meat."

Although its wartime reputation was that of an inexpensive meat option, today it's anything but cheap: you can expect to pay more per pound than for beef or pork. Despite the old saying that it "tastes just like chicken," rabbit meat, though mild tasting compared to other game, is versatile and also healthy, higher in protein but lower in calories, fat and cholesterol than many other meats.

Do you think that rabbit is here to stay, or is it just a flash in the (fry) pan?

Photo of rabbit stew courtesy L.A. Times.

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