The author and photographer who opened a glorious window into the world of exotic birds with his hugely successful Extraordinary Chickens and its well-received follow-up, Extraordinary Pheasants, continues his startling photographic exploration with another singular and charming book. The striking images in Stephen Green-Armytage’s first book showed that “the world of chickens is a world of wonders” (New York Times Book Review). Now this arresting new volume-a look at pigeon breeds from around the world-captures as we have never seen before the eccentric and often surprising features of these amazing creatures.
Pigeons of all sizes, shapes, and colors parade through these pages-from the Volga Tumbler Pigeons to the Philippine Bleeding Heart Doves (doves are actually pigeons, just small ones), from the flamboyant Jacobins who wear their lavish feathers like a boa, and the Pouters who puff out their chests to absurd proportions, to the Trumpeters who sport floppy crowns reminiscent of moptop 1960s pop groups. The astonishing color photographs, enhanced by a brief, informative text, make this a perfect gift for birders, breeders, animal lovers, and photography buffs alike.
A new Whole Foods store opened right near my work. Whole Foods is an overpriced, somewhat organic supermarket, with a somewhat-premium selection. The problem with normal supermarkets is that they sell a mind-numbing variety of food that ranges from unhealthy to the point of poisonous, to very untasty at low, low prices. Whole Foods sells decent, and sometimes even healthy and delicious food, but at a budget breaking prices. They also sometimes have exotic products, and because of that provide me with material for Gastronomic Adventures.
Today on the menu: ostrich egg. It cost me $29, and apparently it was a pricing mistake – it now cost $39. Even though they are big, they are fricking expensive. Notice the “local” tag. Eating local food is all the rage these days thanks to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and apparently there’s an ostrich farm somewhere in New York.
As tempting as the microwave experiment looked, and as high as the novelty value of the Scotch ostrich egg is, I decided on a more conventional recipe.
After taking a hammer to the egg, I fried some up and baked the rest.
While the taste was similar to chicken eggs,
the texture was completely different. The fried egg white felt stringy, almost like noodles, and very, very tasty.
The baked yolk was creamy and without that sulfury taste that chicken egg yolks sometimes have. The whole thing was very tasty. If not for the price, I’d be eating ostrich eggs much more frequently.
While a far cry from the exotic subway riding pigeons of Far Rockaway (I need to pay them a visit some time) described in Randy Kennedy’s “Subwayland“, there are some pigeons that live underground in subway stations. I missed my train to take this picture:
The black splotches of gum that cover so many sidewalks and subway platforms in NYC always make me think of a passage from “Roadside Picnic” (English translation is available on the official site for download) by Russian sci-fi writers brothers Strugatsky”:
“And, as was to be expected, there was nothing else to be seen on the road, except for the black twisted stalactites that looked like fat candles hanging from the jagged edges of the slope, and a multitude of black splotches in the dust, as though someone had spilled bitumen. That was all that was left of them, it was even impossible to tell how many there had been. Maybe each splotch represented a person, or one of Buzzard’s wishes.”
The 47-50th Street station has stalactites as well. It’s a very special station indeed. :)
You know, I feel that “pigeon” is just a pejorative for “dove“. Many of the pigeons that I see are probably descendants of the ones that Tesla fed.
The ubiquitous monk parrots live near the Brooklyn College power plant from the previous post. The grass near the athletic field is teeming with them. I wrote about the parrots before.