We were on the second day of Spanish cuisine in class today. Rabbit is one of the national ingredients in Spanish cuisine. We are serving a rabbit stew in class. There were 13 rabbits, one for each student (isn’t it ironic that 13 is a “lucky” number).

I fabricated a rabbit today. It came packed, skinned, without a head. It was my job to remove its front legs, then its back legs. Then the rabbit rib cage was cut off, and I carefully slid the blade of my boning knife along the ledge of the tenderloin, on each side, loosening the tenderloin meat, and then finally removing the back bone.

Next, I trimmed the tenderloin and the attached flaps, seasoned the rabbit with salt, pepper, a few dabs of butter and fresh thyme. I rolled the meat and tied it with a butcher twine. The rabbit got cooked in a flavorful tomato broth with a chocolate garlic sauce. The chocolate is the indication of Columbus’ discovery of new world ingredients and bringing them back to Spain.

I fabricated the rabbit. It reminded me of the days when I was in the Meat Fabrication class when I first got to the CIA – I used to think back then that I might want to be a butcher. There’s something almost satisfying in gliding the blade of the knife, sharp, thin, and flexible, through the natural separations of the animal’s parts, and seeing the immediate result of your work. It’s methodical. It’s messy. It requires a certain disassociation.