Two weeks ago, I was invited to the annual duck and pheasant dinner at the home of Pin Larson.
People know Pin as the owner of the Stockman’s Bar in Missoula. Two of Pin’s sons, Mike and Donnie, bought the legendary Missoula watering hole when Pin decide to retire.
The dinner has been an annual tradition for about 15 years or so. Guests include many of Pin’s friends as well as “the second generation” when they are old enough to be trusted and can contribute something to the night’s storytelling and good-natured jokes. I would probably be classified as being on the bubble. I have considered Pin a good friend for years and at the up age level of the “second generation.”
Everyone who attends the dinner shares a common love for the outdoors. One of the towns’ more likable lawyers, Milt Datsopoulos (if there is such thing as a likable lawyer), is the lone exception.
While everyone else is feasting on duck and pheasant, Datsopoulos always sits at the head of the table and directs the conversation and consumes a thick New York steak.
Every year, my wife Dawn asks me if she can attend. And every year, I tell her no.
I explain to her that the only female allowed to attend is Pin’s wife Annie. It is not that any of us are sexist, but in some ways, I think we all considering Annie to be our surrogate mother. We also know that she is absolutely the only woman who will greet each of us at the door with a hug and then put up with us for the rest of the night.
As I mentioned, duck and pheasant is the main course. Pin always does an excellent job on preparing the duck, but years ago he handed the chore of cooking the pheasant to Ron MacDonald.
MacDonald, a prominent local attorney, relished the challenge of trying to satisfy the palates of his fellow outdoorsmen. However, when I put him on the spot, he confessed there is a safety factor in cooking for this elite group.
“ After the two-and-a-half-hour ‘cocktail hour’,” MacDonald admitted, “it is not as if any of the storytellers have a discerning palate to please excepting Judge Ed Mclean who doesn’t drink.”
It is also very obvious to me that MacDonald has no intention of giving up his recipe.
Every year, I badger him to cough up the recipe, so I can share it with the readers of this column. MacDonald has gone so far as to tell me that he stole the recipe from a prominent local neurologist, who he says, “obviously stole it from someone else or inherited it from his mother.”
The name he has given the recipe reveals how he got it — “Pirated Pheasant In Cream Sauce.”
You can probably tell by now I had intended on publishing “the recipe” in my column this week. But because of MacDonald’s so called, “Chef-Recipe Privilege,” I am unable to do so.
Did I mention I really liked the pheasant? It was delicious….
Oh, and did I mention that I thought MacDonald was also one of the most likable attorneys in town — maybe even more likable than Milt Datsopoulos.
Maybe if I tell him that often enough — and you tell him that, too, — we may just have that recipe to publish next year.
It will be worth the wait.