No it isn't Donald Duck's birthday although I, and many like me, have believed this daffy tale forever! I even did a post way back in 2009 celebrating Donald Duck's birthday on June 9th! Uh Oh, I may have been dead wrong. So, you may ask, When Was Donald Duck Born? That's right folks, Donald Duck's birthday may very well be March 13, 1913.
Or not. According to this list of 10 Facts about Donald Duck, "throughout Donald's films he has been provided with three different birth dates:" 1) June 9, 1934-The deput of his first film 2) Friday the 13th-Which is a reference to all his bad luck he comes across. 3) March 13-His Happy Birthday short provides this date.
Some of the websites I visited opine that Donald Duck, who has been known to drive a red sporty car, has license plate number 313 on his car. A "vanity" plate of sorts announcing his birthday as March 13th. (which some say was a Friday in 1913:) I happened to find such a car with said license plate at Comic Vine.
1934 Belchfire Runabout @comicvine
Since I don't have any cookbooks starring Donald Duck, I thought it might be a good idea to keep it all in the family and share a comic book I have featuring Moby Duck. It was published in 1969 and I discovered it in an old box of cookbooks I bought at auction.
I'm almost embarrassed to admit that before this post I knew nothing about Moby Duck especially since as many of you know, I happen to have a son who is in the comic book business! Shame on me. You think I would have called him and asked him for a quick bio on Moby Duck. Fact is, the weekends are his busiest times at the store and I figured why bother him when I could just impose on Google:) However, being the nurturing mother that I am, I will make a shameless plug for his store. It's called Comic Swap it's in downtown State College, PA and it's a comic book lovers' dream! There I said it:) That's John in the bottom row right smack in the middle:)
For instance, I learned Moby Duck is Donald Duck's cousin! Of course he isn't as popular as Donald but many attribute that to the fact that he is "a salty seafaring captain of a whaling tug" and you know how people feel about whalers in these parts. He also smokes a pipe. A definite no no in the world of Disney.
"...Not that Moby was ever seen actually harming a whale — in fact, he even helped them from time to time. The harpoon he frequently carried may, for all the readers knew, never have so much as touched a large aquatic mammal, and he certainly put more on-stage effort into transporting cargo for Scrooge McDuck than he ever did into harvesting blubber. But he was on a whaling trip in the comic book where he was introduced...Donald Markstein's Toonpedia
"...Moby Duck first appeared in the comic book Donald Duck #112, published by Gold Key in March of 1967. In the 14-page story, A Whale of an Adventure, written by Vic Lockman and drawn by Tony Strobl, Donald accidentally drifts out to sea on a rubber raft where he is rescued by Moby Duck and his pet porpoise Porpy. In exchange for the rescue, Donald agrees to be the first mate on Moby's boat, the Miss Ambergris. Moby returned to Donald Duck two issues later in the story The Jewels of Skull Rock, and then Gold Key launched him in his own title in October of 1967...What a Character!-Moby Duck
So there you have it. A brief dossier on the Duck family. But wait, there's one more important tidbit, which is the reason for the title of the post; Duck Day; My Way. Did you know it is commonly agreed upon that Donald and his family were all modeled after the Pekin Duck? (the Aflac duck was too:) Now Pekin Duck I do know a little about. What Long Island "gal" wouldn't?
Before I continue, I'd like to tell you about the source of that Long Island Duckling advertisement above. Would you believe it was harvested from The Eagle Cookbook published by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle way back in 1926! How lucky am I to actually have a copy of it in my cookbook collection? Very! It's one of the coolest newspaper cookbooks I have besides of course the Newsday cookbook I have titled Foods of Long Island by Peggy Katalinich (1985). As a retired Newsday employee, that book holds fine memories for me. I have a Detroit News newspaper published in the late 1900's that's pretty neat too!!! We'll get back to Peggy's book in a minute...
I don't know if you've ever been to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Online website but if you're feeling nostalgic one day you should drop by the site. As in any other library, be prepared to spend some quiet time:)
If all of the Pekin Ducks in the United States are descendants from nine ducks imported to Long Island in the late 1800s, does that make Donald Duck and the rest of his family Long Island natives? How cool would that be?
"...The history of the Pekin duck in the United States dates back to 1873. Legend has it that the nine Pekin ducks that were brought to the United States were obtained from the Chinese Imperial City of Peking (modern day Beijing) by Ed McGrath in 1873. In the spring of 1872 Mr. McGrath saw some white ducks of extraordinary size, and was able to obtain some eggs from this stock. He took these eggs with him to Shanghai, had them incubated and raised from them fifteen ducks. Mr. McGrath arranged with James E. Palmer, an American poultry fancier from Long Island, to take these ducks with him. Six of the ducks were lost in a storm at sea. The remaining nine ducks, three drakes and six ducks, arrived in New York City on March 13, 1873, after a voyage of 124 days..." Long Island Duck Farm History, PDF 2009
Duck farms abounded on Long Island during the majority of the twentieth century, and Long Island duck was among the most famous in the world. About 7.5 million ducks per year were grown in Suffolk County during the peak of the duck industry which lasted well into the 1960s.
...Duck farms in the Riverhead area were producing around 500,000 ducks a year in the 1960′s. New York State began to place restrictions on the business due to pollution from excrement and spoiling feed. Many of the smaller duck farms found that they had to close. A few of the larger farms remained until the 70′s but today there are only two duck farms still operating locally on Long Island: the Massey Farm in Eastport and the Corwin-Crescent Farm in Aquebogue that processes about 900,000 duck a year – which today is only 4% of the country’s Pekin duck production...Westhampton Beach Historical Society 2012
It was inevitable. A Perfect Roast Duckling recipe of course. Let's see what Peggy Katalinich reports:
"Even though sautéed duck breasts are chic and, indeed delicious, a basic roast duckling is one of the best ways to present the bird. That is, if you succeed in getting a crisp skin and if you manage to cook the legs without drying out the breast meat or cook off most of the fat, and yet leave enough flavor.
Borrowing a technique from Karen Lee, Chinese cookbook author and a great cook, makes the process a cinch; she separates the skin from the duckling breast with a knife and lets the bird dry out. While I've simplified her approach somewhat, the essential idea remains. Pull the skin up, and away from the breast meat, shoving your fingers as far as you can into the bird. Then, turn the duck over. Remove any bits of fat or other material so that the underside flap of the skin is smooth. This allows the fat to pour put when the duck is cooking. Scientific, or not, it works.
The Chinese hand their ducklings so that the skin gets very dry and after cooking remains very crisp. I have found that refrigerating the duckling uncovered over night accomplishes the same thing, Granted, this approach takes time and requires some advanced planning, but it certainly isn't hard. I have also hung a couple of ducklings on strings from a two-by-four placed across my kitchen counters, put a fan on them, and dried them out in a couple of hours...
And what would a Duck Day post be with out some Duck Fat and Cracklings (Graisse de canard graisserons)? Here they are, straight from The Cooking of Southwest France: Recipes from France's Magnificent Rustic Cuisine by Paula Wolfert ©1983.