• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 05
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Warm Songbird Salad

Like dumplings, the little bodies are a soft handful each. Pick them and test carefully for ripeness, for a trilling heartbeat. Look for clear eyes and closed beaks; discard any beaks that have opened. Shaking the bodies may release any song trapped in the throat.

Comb all feathers to the point of frill. Sort according to size but don't forget - smaller birds may taste sweeter.

Add lemon zest, pomegranate seeds, baby rice, a trail of breadcrumbs. Adjust ingredients according to arbitrary fashion.

Bake in the centre of a gas oven. Watch carefully as they cook, checking for loss of colour and iridescence. The trick is to render the birds exotic enough to entice, familiar enough to comfort, tender enough to confuse. This may take several attempts, over the course of years. Before you try, set more traps.

Season to taste. Leave overnight in a cool, dark place.

Serve with a garnish of wasted sighs.