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I used to really like duck hunting. I enjoyed being out early, waiting on the ducks to start coming in. I appreciated seeing a well-trained dog at work. And I’ve never minded cleaning a mess of them.
In fact, the only thing that kept me from becoming a full-fledged duck fanatic is that I don’t like to eat them.
I’ve cooked ducks about a dozen different ways, based on different recipes that people have assured me I will love. The problem is that they always end up tasting like duck – which to me is uncomfortably close to the taste of liver. (PS – I don’t like liver either.)
The only time I’ve ever had duck that I truly liked was in a Louisiana restaurant where I had duck confit. It was delicious, but when I went home and read the recipe, I realized that cooking it would be harder and more time consuming than driving back over to New Orleans and ordering it. I also came to the conclusion that the reason I liked it in the first place is because it didn’t taste like duck.
Given that, plus the fact that my Lab basically flunked Hunting 101, I haven’t been too excited about duck hunting for the past few years. But recently I started watching A&E’s Duck Dynasty and I’ll have to admit that it’s rekindled my interest in the duck-hunting world.
It’s odd because I was fully expecting to not like the show for several reasons. Number one of course is that “reality” television brought us gems like the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo, and that whiny, wussy fat guy on Whale Wars.
For another thing, television and movies have a pretty dismal record when it comes to portraying hunters and southerners. Put the two together and I figured Hollywood wouldn’t be able to resist making the Robertsons look like direct descendants of Elmer Fudd and the Beverly Hillbillies. So I had been ducking the Dynasty for a while.
A couple of months ago, however, my kids and several friends finally convinced me to watch one episode.
Imagine my surprise when the show was nothing like I thought it would be. Instead of cringing my way through, I actually laughed out loud. Another episode followed immediately and I watched that one too. Then another. Before long, I was hooked.
Part of the reason is because the Robertson family comes across like a real family. Sure, I realize that a lot of the situations and dialog are probably scripted. They’ve openly said as much in interviews. But the characters themselves have depth. These aren’t attention-starved celebrities with oversized egos. Nor are they desperate people willing to humiliate themselves for money.
These are entrepreneurs who literally carved a fortune out of the Louisiana swamps and now that they have the spotlight, they’re using it to emphasize their family, their faith and their favorite pastimes. The best part is that they make no apologies for any of it. It’s eat, pray, hunt and it’s presented in a way that’s pleasant, engaging and funny.
The only thing I can think of that would improve the show would be to include some tips for cooking ducks. Preferably recipes that make them taste like something else.