This article was translated by John R. Bopp

Once again, The New York Times has surprised us with an extraordinary article about the Basques.  On this occasion, it’s an article by Alexandra Marshall on the traditional dove hunt in the Land of the Basques.

The traditional system Basques used to hunt the doves who pass through the Pyrenees on their annual migration from northern Europe to Africa to spend the winter has appeared tangentially on our blog several times.

But it did so thanks to two people of great importance for the Basque Country, and in some articles that are of great value to our people given the topic , the way it’s dealt with, and the historical moment of its publication.

In 1955, Orson Welles filmed two documentaries about the Basques, under the title “The Land of the Basques,” which we’ve discussed many times.  The film captures the traditional hunt, which can be seen in part of the documentary we covered in our “The Basques, by Orson Welles” entry.

The traditional Basque dove hunt with nets during their migration, covered in an article signed by Robert Laxalt and published in ‘National Geographic’ in 1968.
The traditional Basque dove hunt with nets during their migration, covered in an article signed by Robert Laxalt and published in ‘National Geographic’ in 1968.

Thirteen years later, in 1968, National Geographic Magazine published an absolutely incredible 37-page article called “Land of the Ancient Basques”.  It was written by Robert Laxalt, a Basque-American author, and with photographs by William Albert Allard.  In this amazing document about Basques, which we discussed in our entry “National Geographic 1968: A look, 45 years ago, at the heart of the Basque Country,” Robert Laxalt and National Geographic cover the traditional Basque dove hunt in detail.

Today, to that select list, we’re adding the NYT article where this author adds to the respect this publication has always had when dealing with the Basques.  We’ve always called the New York Times a friend to the Basques, not because they speak well of us, but because they never cease to amaze us with how they always use their own criteria when talking about us, whether we like it or not.  We’ve always found the articles on their pages written from their own point of view, very distant from the French or Spanish nationalist messages other politicians, journalists, and economists write from the heart of Spain or France.

The New York Times – 31/10/2016 – USA

Hunting Pigeon in the Pyrenees — for Supper

FALL IS WILD GAME SEASON in France, and discerning diners at Parisian outposts like L’Ami Jean, La Régalade and Spring come especially for the composed dishes of just-hunted, rich-tasting game. That one might bite into one’s mallard or grouse and land on stray birdshot is perhaps a badge of honor, proof that what’s on your plate has a woodsier back story than the steak. And palombe, or wood pigeon, has a better back story than most. “As a chef, you want something that tastes delicious, but also that’s coherent and has its own tradition,” says Daniel Rose, who serves it rare-roasted at his First Arrondissement restaurant Spring during the bird’s month-and-a-half season from mid-October to the end of November.

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