National Duckling Month is a unique celebration that takes flight every year in May. But this month-long event isn’t just about adoring these fuzzy little creatures.
Instead, it’s a culinary homage to duckling meat, a delicacy enjoyed in many cultures around the world, thanks to its lean, succulent flavor, high protein, and low saturated fat content. From the bustling streets of Cairo to the serene waters of the Yangtze, duckling dishes have a special place in many cultures — including in the United States.
History of National Duckling Month
The story of National Duckling Month is as rich and layered as the flavors of the dishes it celebrates. Ducks have been part of human civilization for millennia, with most domesticated varieties tracing back to the regal Mallard. The majestic Mallard, known for its distinctive curled feather on the males, was domesticated around 4000 B.C. by ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Chinese, and Europeans.
But let’s not forget about the Muscovy duck, known for its unique silence unless pursued or caught, domesticated in Central and South America before Columbus’s infamous voyage in 1492.
Fast forward to 1873, when the United States became an unexpected hub for commercial duck raising. Thanks to three Pekin drakes and six large hens from China, duck farming boomed, especially with the bustling duckling market in New York City. The duck population surged.
The next significant advancement toward National Duckling Month came late in the 20th century when a United States Senator, Jesse Helms of North Carolina, saw an opportunity to highlight this flourishing industry. In 1988, he introduced a bill to designate May as National Duckling Month, with the first celebration quacking off in 1989.
How to Celebrate National Duckling Month
Celebrating National Duckling Month can be as delightful and varied as the recipes anyone can cook. Here are some ways to join the festivities:
Cook a Duckling Feast
Why not tie on an apron and don a chef’s hat? It’s time to whip up a delicious duckling dish. Whether it’s a classic roast or a recipe with North African flair, cooking with duckling meat is a delectable way to mark the month.
Duckling Cooking Classes
Those whose culinary skills are more ‘wack’ than ‘quack,’ may want to consider celebrating National Duckling Month with a cooking class. Learn the secrets of preparing mouth-watering duckling dishes that make even a seasoned chef tip their hat.
Dine Out on Duckling Delights
Not a fan of cooking? No problem! Visit a local restaurant that serves duckling dishes. From crispy skin to tender meat, let those taste buds enjoy National Duckling Month by embarking on a culinary adventure.
Get Educated on Ducks
Beyond the dinner plate, ducks are fascinating creatures. Did you know ducks can have different ‘accents’ based on whether they’re from the city or the countryside? Or that they communicate before hatching? Spend some time learning about these fantastic animals. There are a wealth of documentaries on streaming services or YouTube.
Spread the Word About National Duckling Month
Share some succulent duckling dishes on social media to share National Duckling Month with friends and family. Be sure to include hashtags like #NationalDucklingMonth and #DucklingMonth. Let the world know about this unique celebration.
Visit a Duck Farm
Experience the source of all the quackery by taking some time during National Duckling Month to visit a local duck farm. Many farms offer tours. These visits allow people to see how ducks are raised and cared for. The experience will impart a deeper appreciation for the journey from farm to table.
Host a National Duckling Month Party
Throw a duckling-themed party complete with duck-inspired decorations, games, and a menu featuring delicious duck dishes. It’s a fun way to bring friends and family together to celebrate the month.
Duck Watching in Nature
If culinary celebrations aren’t quite to taste, why not connect with the natural world of ducks? Find a local park or wetland where ducks are known to gather. Spend some quiet time in nature and observe these fascinating birds in their natural habitat.
Create Duckling Art or Crafts
Unleash that creative side by making duckling-themed art or crafts. This can be a fun activity for all ages, whether drawing, painting, sculpting or even knitting plush ducklings. It’s a delightful way to honor these adorable creatures and can be a beautiful family bonding activity or a relaxing solo project.
Besides that, these creations can make charming decorations for a duckling-themed party or thoughtful gifts for fellow duck enthusiasts.