Please Pass a Little More of That Raccoon

My neighbor just got back from his annual deer hunt. He butchered the deer in his garage. He was just finishing the cleaning up and was telling us stories about the hunt when the conversation turned to food and eating.

We live in Minnesota and there was more than one group leaving the neighborhood that Friday before to go hunting. The newspaper is full of pictures and stories about deer hunting. Ten year old children are proudly displaying the animal that they killed. It is part of the culture. It does make you think about your source of food and how it gets on your table. It is not just wild rice mushroom soup that gets eaten for dinner with no shots fired.

It also brought back memories of when I used to hunt for pheasants. I ended up killing a raccoon that was in a tussle with my bird dog. Not wanting it to go to waste, I brought the dead raccoon home and cleaned it. I wasn’t going to be cooking for two that night. I got out the wild game cookbook and we fixed a small wild game feast with pheasant and sweet and sour raccoon and then invited the neighbors over. I will never forget the little eighty five year old woman with white hair at the end of the table that night as she politely asked us to pass the dish around. “

I told this story to the hunter across the street. He said that he had never met anyone who had ever eaten a raccoon. I did not used to eat asparagus. Then I met someone who could cook. It was a different world that opened up.

I don’t hunt anymore. I eat a lot less meat and a lot more vegetables. I love soup. I really enjoy “fancy cooked” vegetables with different spices and recipes from around the world. It all depends on how you cook it.

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