This post may not be suitable for vegetarians.
I realized my mistake as soon as I sat down and read the recipe, really translating the verbs. "Decoupez le lapin a l'aide d'un hachoir de menage...si vous n'etes pas expert, demandez a votre fournisseur de le faire pour vous." Huh. I had just bought a whole rabbit at Nogent-sur-Marne's buzzing Saturday market, remembering a picture in Bocuse dans Votre Cuisine (our French host family owns a copy I've been reading, signed by the master himself!). The butcher had offered to cut it up for me--which according to Bocuse was just what I should have done--but I'd waved him off, somehow imagining a whole roast rabbit that you carve up after roasting like a turkey. But home butchering via cleaver? I hadn't even been able to find a sharp knife in the kitchen yet!
So first I panicked, and put off the rabbit dinner for another night. I needed to really psych myself up for this. The next afternoon I googled it and found a plethora of YouTube videos. Southern Boy said he hoped to inspire his viewers--and indeed I was! Off I went to the kitchen to lay out my knives and unwrap my rabbit, in tact with all of its parts. Jack stared at him/her: "Look at it's eyes!" And then, "It looks yummy!"
I'll fast forward here, but in the end I found myself with a lapin decoupe that Paul Bocuse would have found probably minimally acceptable. Total adrenaline rush! I was much more confident in the rest of the cooking process and plated a crowd-pleasing Lapin a la Moutarde for the family that night.
We've been in France a week now, in a fantastic house swap just on the edge of Paris, and I'm on a mission to immerse the family in French cuisine. So far that's meant cooking attempts at--in addition to the rabbit--magret de canard, cote d'agneau, croque madames, mousse au chocolat, and madeleines. This in addition to the intimate relationship we've developed with our local boulangerie and our crepe crawl through the city. I may need to buy larger pants soon.
Next on the culinary adventure list: wrangling the kids to a bistro we've been trying to get to since our honeymoon and finding the best macaron in the city.
Find pictures from our French travels here.