Dear Oh Deer!

BBQ Venison Ribs

BBQ Venison Ribs

As the saying goes: you don’t choose who you fall in love with.

Although I have never eliminated red meat from my diet, I could happily live 90% of the time as a vegetarian.  I don’t cook red meat at home, I don’t serve it to guests and I don’t seek it out.  I am just not that person who gets cravings for hamburgers or roast beef.

Then I met an amazing person and realized that hunting is a big part of his life.  Our 4th date lasted 48 hours as we travelled up to Northern Ontario for an annual game dinner with his hunting buddies.  And his taking the first week of November off for “Hunt Camp” to hunt deer is absolutely sacrosanct.

The result is every fall we have a freezer full of venison that needs to be cleared out in time for next influx of venison come November.  My diet now includes venison at least once a week. Venison stew, venison burgers, venison ribs, venison meatloaf, venison satay, venison pate, venison sausage…you get the picture.  I can’t believe I did this but just for some variety to the menu, I gave the SO a venison cookbook as a stocking stuffer this past Christmas.

This post is one that I have been putting off for a while because I know (believe me, I know) that hunting can be a contentious issue.  And I do struggle because even though I enjoy the results, I am still strongly anti-gun.  It still bothers me to see the SO set off with his hunting gear after deer, rabbit, turkeys, etc. even though I know that it is licensed and helps in maintaining the right population balance for the food chain.

How do I make peace with this?  Basically, I don’t order meat in restaurants and at home, there is no more buying “plastic” meat wrapped in styrofoam packaging from the grocery store.  The meat I eat is as organic as you will ever get.  And when I am eating it, I know it has only been a few steps from land to my plate.  More than that, every part of the animal is being used (by the way, please let me know if you are interested in cured deer hides 🙂

As I said, I’ve been putting this post off for months but felt I needed to ‘fess up about the role of venison in my life…I am interested in any thoughts you might have about this? I do have an amazing recipe for venison burgers if anyone is interested.


About kate magee

I am a lifelong foodie who lives in Toronto and spends much too much of my time thinking, preparing, eating and writing about food...
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9 Responses to Dear Oh Deer!

  1. fransiweinstein says:

    This is a tough one. Like you I eat meat very rarely and could happily be a vegetarian. I am also anti gun, vehemently so. I am not big on hunting, to be honest.

    When I lived in Oakville I drove to and from work every day. Inevitably I would find myself right behind the huge trucks taking pigs to slaughter. It bothered me so, I found another route, even though it was longer. And I stopped eating pork for a long time. I just couldn’t swallow it. I have it once in a blue moon now, but when I do, I see those pigs on that truck and I stop eating it.

    More and more I feel that way about all meat. I do enjoy fish, although I have never been able to throw a live lobster into a pot of boiling water.

    Lucky for me I like tofu because I think that’s where I’m headed.

    Life is complicated.

    • kate magee says:

      Thanks for your comment and I also hate being beside those huge trucks taking pigs & cows to slaughter; it seems so inhumane.

      As I said, I really do struggle with the whole hunting thing. However, I’m not sure that I’m ready to give up meat altogether at this point but I am definitely much more conscious about how much of it I eat and where it comes from.

      Life IS complicated…

  2. Barbara Murray says:

    I suppose one way to look at it is that you’re eating an animal that had a natural, wild life……as opposed to being factory born, raised and slaughtered for our consumption. One of my favourite episodes of M.A.S.H. was where they made the Spam lamb for Easter, because noone could take on the task of slaughtering the real lamb wandering around camp.

    • kate magee says:

      I do find that this has changed my whole approach to the choices I make about the meat that I choose to eat…I know the land that those deer live on and I also know that nothing goes to waste…definitely makes me think about other meat options that are on offer at stores / restaurants.

      I do have to look for that episode of MASH on YouTube as the SO and I are completely divided on whether SPAM counts as real food 🙂

  3. Maggie says:

    I was wondering how you would address this part of your cuisine. I don’t think we need to apologize for our choices and I think that we have become too far removed from the processes required to bring our food to the table so a discussion like helps to remind us of what is involved in food production, whether animal or vegetable.🍴

    • kate magee says:

      Thank you so much for this! I don’t apologize for my choices but I do want to be honest about my feelings about them. I do agree with you that this has definitely made me much more aware of where our food comes from…

      For example, I love bacon but I also know that the bacon we eat comes from a friend of the SO who raises a few hogs a year, feeds them food scraps and broken eggs from the chicken farmer next door and then slaughters them humanely. I can’t ever go back to the usual supermarket brands…

  4. Barbara Murray says:

    I believe SPAM has a shelf life of 500 years. Noone knows where it comes from.

  5. Maggie says:

    The merits of SPAM can be debated at length; and don’t forget that for the ‘health conscious’ that there is always SPAM Lite.

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