Tell us a way in which you’ve challenged yourself to connect with your food. Comment on this post, and we will draw two names at random to receive a copy of Paula Young Lee’s “Deer Hunting in Paris” (signed paperback!) on November 10th.
(*I do understand that hunting can be a contentious subject and that there are many varied viewpoints. The book is about one woman’s personal journey, if you’re not interested in reading it, I ask that you don’t comment so I don’t randomly draw your name. thank you).
the back story….
If you’ve been following us on Instagram this week you will have noticed Joel posting images from the woods. It’s hunting season. Joel is up north with his hunt camp as he is every year at this time for Moose week. But this year it’s a bit different.
Usually I’m left here at home, the only ‘hunting bachelor(ette)’ that I knew of here in the city. This year I’m joined by two friends, their spouses are with Joel up at Spikehorn for the hunt. We all have different experiences in the way that hunting entered our lives and our level of involvement, but we agree that it connects us with our food and makes us more conscious of the choices we make about food. What we also have in common is that we don’t plan on sitting on the sidelines forever, and as women, we have far fewer peers to look to in this area.
I got an email from Paula Young Lee in the spring, she wanted to talk to Joel about a book she was writing and thought some of her articles would interest us. We exchanged emails for a while, I looked up a bunch of her articles and one got my attention: “Nothing like ‘Duck Dynasty’ – my life as a female hunter. ” . Joel had given me Georgia Pelligrini’s book for Christmas one year and while I enjoyed it, and the ‘novelty’ of a woman hunter… I didn’t connect with it, for many of the reasons Paula talks about in that article. I really appreciated the article, she writes intelligently on a topic I know from experience is tough (it took me hours to write THIS post) Plus she’s hilarious.
So when she said her new book was called “Deer Hunting in Paris – a memoir of God, Guns and Game Meat” and asked if I wanted a copy to read and maybe a couple to give away, I said ‘absolutely’ and looked forward to receiving it. I also turned around and recommended it to a bunch of my friends (mainly the ones mentioned in the second paragraph of this post).
Truth be told, I am the slowest reader…it takes me months to get through a book (attention span and to-do list are the main culprits). I’m not finished Deer Hunting in Paris yet, I’m really enjoying it. Reading Paula’s writing kind of feels like sitting across the table from her with a pint in hand while she tells you stories. She’s one of those people you’d get up from the table and say to yourself ‘this conversation changed me’. The story is uniquely hers but one that I can connect with way better than most of the other ‘girl hunters’. Her voice is a welcome one to me as I challenge myself to take baby steps toward my first hunt. She is inspiring me to add my voice on the matter more, here on wellpreserved.
The ethos of wellpreserved is ultimately a better connection to the food we eat, and while hunting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I know for myself it’s an important topic to explore when it comes to food. I’m going to follow up this post with my own mini-memoir/timeline of how hunting came into my life and my thoughts on the topic. I’m also hoping to introduce you to a few more ladies at various stages and with different perspectives.
On that note! Below is a review of Deer Hunting in Paris that my friend Kelly wrote for us. She is a hunter, and my sister in ‘Toronto Women’s Adventure Team’ antics. Kelly and her husband are fellow foodnerds and preserving ‘enthusiasts’ (<cough>, obsessed). Her husband is currently the newest member of Joel’s hunt camp (one of the other beardy fellows you may see on our instagram feed). As I said at the beginning of this post. I’m really looking forward to reading your comments on ways in which you’ve challenged yourself to connect with what’s on your plate. I’ll draw 2 names from the comments to receive a copy of the book.
Deer Hunting in Paris, Paula Young Lee
At first glance, Young’s book, Deer Hunting in Paris: A Memoir of God, Guns and Game grabbed my attention with a rudimentary diagram of how to break down a deer. Sure I’ve seen illustrations of a pig being broken down into cuts of pork – but venison? On the cover? And somehow God was going to be part of this delicious forest meat story – it became a must read for me…given that I have yet to figure out G-d in my life.
I am so glad that I did read this memoir…it has delivered entertainment on so many levels. From Young’s vivid recollection of her childhood as the daughter of a popular Korean pastor to her years as a poor student living in Paris working through food allergies, poverty and a long distance relationship and her evolution to her present day self as a huntress. I felt that she shared some of her most embarrassing moments in the name of literature, and I eagerly read each one – her lack of success at shooting clay pigeons as recounted through the words of the men as they dismiss her as having too big of a head to shoot without major concessions was hilarious. I could just imagine her face as they prattled on.
Conversations between Young and her partner John are about ammo, dry socks and coffee for the hunt. I loved that I could relate to and follow the importance of their exchanges – I compared my experiences to many of hers as I read along, laughing at many of her forest/gotta-pee/animal poop in the forest stories.
What I really enjoyed was the visceral descriptions of offal and Young’s ability to turn the least desirable cuts of meat into tender medallions. Her reverence of venison heart as the most sacred part of the deer was intriguing – I loved the play on endearment as John gifted her the heart of the deer that he had just harvested; he knew she would understand the metaphorical offering. Reading a memoir that includes an authentic recipe for preparing venison heart endeared me to Young - I am the one that sends ziplock bags with the hunters and asks for the hearts of any deer that they have harvested. I will definitely give her recipe a try – it has some of my favourite ingredients venison, bacon and red wine.