Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Cookbook a delight to palate — and ear

  • Print

When I worked as editor of the Ducks Unlimited Canada magazine, Frank Baldwin would often come sauntering through my door — all six feet plus of him — settle in to the only other chair in the room and for the next couple of hours, we would talk ducks, decoys and dogs.

I loved his British accent, mixed in with a few Australian terms, generously sprinkled with Canadian prairie words and evenly coated with the proper grammar of an educated speaker. Even though Frank died last year, I heard that voice again as a read the pages of a new cookbook that he nearly finished before his death.

From the Marsh to the Table will be released in a couple of weeks, thanks to the commitment of his wife, Ali, daughter, Olivia and son, Frank along with the help of Ducks Unlimited Canada.

"The publication of this book is a tribute to our late husband and father, who sincerely appreciated waterfowl and wanted others to experience their culinary attributes," said Frank Jr. "Assisting in the completion of the book was a healing process for our family. It is truly satisfying that others may enjoy his recipes and stories as we did for so many years."

The book isn’t just a collection of recipes. It starts off with a hefty chapter on maintaining the quality of waterfowl after you pull the trigger. Whether you’re a seasoned waterfowler or a first-timer, this is useful stuff. There’s a page on hanging waterfowl. This is a practice I’ve neither done nor seen, but after digesting the information, it seems like a smart idea. The chapter goes on to discuss plucking, dressing, freezing and prepping the birds for cooking.

I think it would be fair to call Frank Baldwin a scholar and that certainly comes through in the words he wrote for this book. It’s all proper English, no slang, and often peppered with a bit of restrained humour.

"Snow geese are notoriously reluctant to be relieved of their feathers, only a very small portion can be plucked without tearing the skin," he wrote in the section about plucking.

In a section packed with cooking tips, Baldwin warns about the dangers of leaving pellets in the flesh.

"In these days of non-toxic-shot, dental encounters with steel shot are painful and potentially expensive. A carpenter’s stud finder with the ability to locate metal wiring will reveal pellets in meat."

The book includes innovative, delicious and some slightly upscale recipes for ducks, geese and — are you ready — snipe. I’ve never seen one in the field, much less thought about harvesting it, but once again, Baldwin gives us a little gift.

"Truly a wild bird of the boggy marshes and wet meadows where snipe may be abundant, it is surprising that the challenging qualities of snipe shooting, the beauty of the places where they are found and the culinary value of these delectable little birds, remains largely unknown." The book includes a recipe for snipe with thyme and white Wine.

Not to be overshadowed by the bird recipes, the book includes recipes for sauces, pates, terrines, sausages, soups, marinades, stocks, gravies and side dishes. I was so inspired by the spiced oranges recipe, I made a bunch of jars as soon as I got my hands on the book. Winnipeg photographer Ian McCausland is to thank for the mouth-watering food shots.

From the Marsh to the Table will be available beginning Nov. 15 on the Ducks Unlimited Canada Website at ($19.99 plus shipping) as well as at McNally Robinson Booksellers ($24.99) and several other outlets. The book launch is Nov. 27 at 7 pm at McNally Robinson, where friends, foodies, chefs and hunters will celebrate Baldwin’s passion for waterfowl.


Roast goose with gin & juniper (From the Marsh to the Table)

1 prime goose or 2 prime mallards or other large ducks

3 cups game stock

4 bay leaves

12 juniper berries, crushed or ground

1 tablespoon corn flour

1⁄2 cup dry gin

salt and pepper


Mix stock, bay leaves, juniper berries in roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. Place bird(s) in pan, spoon over with pan contents. Roast until rare, baste a few times. Remove, cover, keep warm.

Remove bay leaves and discard, separate pan contents, discard fat and save residues. Mix saved residues with scrapings from the bottom of the pan. Mix corn flour with gin and mix with contents of pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, reduce until sauce has a creamy consistency, adjust seasoning. Serve sauce in a hot sauceboat to accompany the carved meat.

Shel Zolkewich writes about the outdoors, travel and food when she’s not playing outside, traveling or eating. You can reach her with your comments at


Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Total Body Tune-Up: Farmer's Carry

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Standup- Morning Fog. Horse prances in field by McPhillips Road, north of Winnipeg. 060605.
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Weather standup. Sundog. Refraction of light through ice crystals which caused both the sun dog and and fog along McPhillips Road early Wednesday morning. 071205.

View More Gallery Photos


Do you agree with the sale of the Canadian Wheat Board to foreign companies?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google