Eat Ghent: Rabbits, a Belgian staple

Cute. Fluffy. Cuddly. They are common sights in the lowlands.
Healthy. Fulfilling. Delicious. This is last night’s dinner.

My uncle used to breed rabbits. I think I was 7 years old back then and every morning, I would visit their cage and count how many they are. It fascinated me that they multiply so fast but of course, no one dared talk to me about thier “mating habits.” With childhood affection, I’d caress their soft, fluffly coat, pinch their rosy little noses and whenever they are let out, chase them around, together with the turkeys and the dogs. They were lovable animals and I’d look forward to weekends that I get to play with them.

One day, my cousins served me a dish they said were of those cute rabbits. I remember crying buckets of tears and walking out of the dining table. I couldn’t believe that they can murder such innocents animals. Although they did not really gave me the impressions that those rabbits were our pets, I wasn’t anticipating either that they are for our meals.

This week though, I had the opportunity to sample the dish I loathed when I was a kid. I don’t get to play with rabbits anymore so their fluffiness and innocence weren’t haunting me after I had that meal. I couldn’t not remember the exact name of the dish but I think it was cooked with red wine. Those black things you see around the rabbit legs are prunes. The dish was served with carrots, whole garlic and fried potatoes.
The rabbit dish was a delight. It’s taste is not comparable to chicken or any kind of meat that I’ve tasted. The texture is unique to this animal and the consistency is between pork and chicken. It is surprisingly heavy after several bites, but I think it was also because I ate it with a glass of Belgian blonde.

Needless to say. I can understand now my family’s fondness for rabbits. They are after all, not only cute animals, they are fulfilling for the stomach.

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