traveled to minneapolis this weekend to shoot with my friend eric anderson. he is head chef at an excellent restaurant called sea change. more on the why, what, and direction of this project later... on eric's hand is a tattoo of an ortolan. i had never heard of this tiny bird who's popular name is given by the french. these creatures have a special, and uniquely gruesome, place in france's gastronomy.
ortolans would be netted in large numbers, and overfed by disrupting the bird's feeding schedules. they would be kept in artificially darkened and lit rooms. millet and oats were traditionally used to fatten the birds.
"For centuries, a rite of passage for French gourmets has been the eating of the Ortolan. These tiny birds—captured alive, force-fed, then drowned in Armagnac—were roasted whole and eaten that way, bones and all, while the diner draped his head with a linen napkin to preserve the precious aromas and, some believe, to hide from God."