Friday, November 12, 2010

It Happened . . . .


This morning both Andy and I woke up ready to go. This is a pretty rare occurrence. While Andy I frequently evoke comparisons to the waking dead until about 2 in the afternoon. This harkens back to the whole early bird, night owl dilemma. Frankly, when I’m chipper at 6:30 in the morning, Andy knows it’s no normal day.  

 As Andy headed out the door, I wished him luck and yelled after him, “You better get a deer. We can’t afford to buy any meat from the grocery store.” While I don’t get a lot of things about hunting (and have issues with bear and moose seasons), I do get the whole “stocking the larder” concept that ties in with deer season.  And our larder could use some stocking. One cannot live through a winter on blueberries alone.

When Andy came home two hours earlier than I’d expected, I figured something had happened.

“Did you get a deer?” I asked.

In response Andy waggled his fingers at me. There was a little bit of blood on his fingertips. It seemed one of two things could have happened: either he’d gotten a deer or he needed a drive down to the emergency room.

“You got a deer?” I said, hopefully. I hoped this was the option we were going with mainly because it was 8:30 in the morning and I hadn’t managed to get dressed yet. (I might add that I had gotten an hour of work done.) And I really needed to shower.

Indeed he had.

I felt glad for him. And I felt worried.

I did not grow up in a hunting family. My grampa hunts. My uncle hunts. My family eats Sloppy Toes (sloppy joes made with crumbled tofu). I really like tofu. I have no clue if I like venison.  

Until this very day, I’ve been removed from the deep-rooted deer hunting traditions that so many of my peers share. One of my all-time favorite examples of deer hunting tradition comes from my friend Betsy. Betsy’s extended family always goes hunting up at their cabin in northern Wisconsin. The women stay at the cabin in the day while the men are out hunting and the first night of deer season they always served ham and cheese casserole.  That is, until the year Betsy’s mom made dinner the first night of deer season and served . . . . . tator tot casserole!!!  An uproar broke out. “But we always have ham and cheese casserole,” they said. You just don’t mess with the traditions that surround deer hunting. Except, I've never had any traditions to mess with.

Last year we gathered everything we needed in the advent of a deer. A meat grinder to attach to the stand mixer. A sausage stuffer. A jerky gun and a dehydrator. But there wasn’t a deer last year and I got to prolong becoming a true woodland housewife for another season.

Now, well, here’s hoping I like venison. I better. Andy’s out hunting again right now. There’ll be no going hungry this winter.

Watch this space for tasty venison recipes . . . coming soon!

6 comments:

  1. Spicy venison sausage. That's all I can say...it's the only venison I can stomach. Just a tip -- I've been dealing with the issue of venison my entire life ;-)

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  2. Yummy!!! I love jerky!

    Good hunting Andy!

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  3. Venison tenderloins are the very best part of the deer. You will love venison. Ask my mom if you need to know how to cook it. Otherwise, I'm sure there are plenty of recipes in "Our Best to You." Maybe even some for venison and blueberries. Good luck on that whole woodland housewife concept.

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  4. I must make some addendums.

    1) The incident happened in northern Minnesota (we hunt Wisconsin and Minnesota). In Wisconsin, the women stay and cook. In Minnesota, only the men are crazy enough to stay in that particular hunting shack.

    2) It involved pork chop hotdish, not tater tot hotdish. If tater tot hotdish had been ousted from the hunting menu, it wouldn't have caused such an uproar. Pork chop hotdish has been served during hunting season since the dawn of time, when our family ancestors went to the hunting cave with a pan of the stuff.

    3) I can absolutely testify to the uproar, since it happened at least twelve years ago and people still talk about the year that my mom made ham and scalloped potatoes. The agreement is that it was delicious, but that she had upset the balance of the universe in performing such a flagrant disregard for the sacred rites and rituals of Hunting Season.

    You will like venison. I'm amazed I never fed it to you. Venison steaks marinaded in teriyaki are fabulous. They're great with brown rice. And if you don't like it, send it down this way :)

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  5. Also, I feel like a celebrity when you mention me in your blog.

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  6. I think when you make venison sausage you need some ham in there or it won't stick together. I, too, am very removed from hunting season, but we did have a monosyllabic rural Wisconsonite on staff two years ago (and a high-strung gay used-to-be-married-into-an-Italian-family cook),and they both seemed to agree to that. Venison doesn't have enough fat (?) to hold it together.
    Good luck.
    Oh--Jay hit a grouse a couple weeks ago on the drive home from town. I cried, "stop! we have to go get it!" and we ate very tasty roadkill for dinner. I expected to be more unnerved by knowing what animal I was eating, but I wasn't.

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