For the price of a hunting license

In November he shot her, up in the woods near the dry stalks of corn farms; and fat layers were thick for wild deer.

I helped haul the carcass up in the garage, her head bumping into my knees and her tongue hanging loose out of her mouth and the dirt was encrusted in her coat and it was closer to my food than I wanted to be.

I wasn’t home for the butchering process, but spent hour after long hour the subsequent days peeling tough silver skin off the roasts and loins.

My fingers stunk of meat.

He weighed the deboned venison and it came to 80 pounds. We made an emergency trip to Walmart for an extra freezer.

And I’ve worried, as we finished up the beef we already had before starting into the venison, that it would be tough; and gamey; and that we wouldn’t like it much.

Eighty pounds is a lot if you don’t like something.

The only experience I have cooking venison comes from several years ago, when I’d dropped out of college and was working as a receptionist and living with several college friends and my boss, she was tired of venison, she said, and sent me home with roasts in small packages.

They were tough and dry by the time I was finished with them, the fault I think of inexperience and a small pantry.

But Saturday I pulled out the first of the packages marked “roast” and I cut and marinated it and Sunday stir-fried it to serve over rice and the chunks were tender, even though I cooked them a little too long.

And I think he liked it better because he’ d dragged it over wooded trail paths and I was just thrilled it wasn’t tough and relieved that I could cook it.

I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot of recipes to try and if anyone is selling a meat grinder, please let me know!

But now I know I can make it into something good. And I know there is no “pink slime” in my meat, or hormones pumped into it, and I know the animal who gave me my dinner spent her life free and very much alive in the woods and cornfields around here.

Kind of nice to have that kind of confidence for the price of a hunting license.


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