Book Giveaway – Deer Hunting in Paris

Book Giveaway   Deer Hunting in Paris hunting giveaway books authors Update! Winner winner venison dinner! (see what I did there?). Just popped a couple of books into the mail to Jessica and Shannon. Hope you guys enjoy!

You can see Shannon’s comment below. I especially love and agree with this part: “Above everything, participating in the entire process from life to death, to cleaning, storing and cooking of your food, connects you in a way that picking a tray off a grocery shelf, cannot.”

Jessica commented on our instagram post, she teaches preserving classes in Calgary AB. Check out her site here.
“After 10 years of vegetarian living, I started eating meat again in 2009. The challenge was to still live within my ethics.”

***************************** Book review at bottom of post.

BOOK GIVEAWAY! 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 Kelly Moore

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.

When Did Whipping Cream Gain Ingredients?

When I was a child the ingredient list of whipping cream looked like this:

  • cream

Now some look like this:

  • Cream
  • milk
  • carrageenan
  • mono and dyglycerides
  • carboxymethyl cellulose
  • polysorbate

To decode a few of those:

  • carrageenan = a thickening agent made from seaweed.  Some say that it interferes with your guthealth.  It’s used to improve the consistency/ texture of things (and was most recently part of the mass exodus that had people steering away from commercially manufactured almond milk).  You can read about it here as well as a balanced article on the two types of carrageenan that exist (and how different they are).
  • mono and dyglycerides = similar to Transfats these are “commonly used to combine ingredients containing fats with those containing water, two types of ingredients that don’t ordinarily combine well” (source).  It’s made from seaweed and some claim it’s carcinogenic.
  • carboxymethyl cellulose = A synthetic thickener and taste enhancer (it’s creamy) which is soluable in liquid.
  • polysorbate = another emulsifier used to mix fat and water.

The “new and improved” list of ingredients claim to make the cream easier to whip.

I hadn’t noticed this until the weekend when a friend pointed it out.  You can still buy cream like the first option (such as this which is NOT a sponsored link in any form).

I don’t know which you’d prefer; for me I’ll be sticking with Door #1 for as long as I can…

How to Preserve Plums: A Round-Up

We send a weekly newsletter focused on a single-topic related to preserving, cooking, local food, foraging, gardening or something else.  Our goal with the newsletter is “to be the most useful resource in your inbox.”  The newsletter includes links to many other websites with ideas sharing knowledge about the topic as well as original content, announcements and occasional contests from us as well.  As an added bonus we send all subscribers the link to a file for labels that Dana hand-designed so you can print your own designer labels to decorate your jars.  You can sign up here.

This weeks theme was: Plums!  New preservers will find everything they need to learn to preserve plums and veterans will (hopefully) find new ideas and great preserving ideas for one for the many different ways you can put plums up.

How to Preserve Plums: A Round Up round  Plum

The Basics

Waterbath Canning

  • Apple-Plum Sauce (Tiny Prairie Farm).  If you can make applesauce and you can make plumsauce, why not combine the two?
  • Plum Sauce with Wild Plums (Homest-Food.net)  I ador Hank Shaw, his books and website.  And now I want to find me some wild plums too!
  • Plums and Honey (Food in Jars) Marisa is on our newsletter almost every week – she has so many recipes and I love this one for it’s use of honey; I bet the plums taste like candy when done!
  • Jalapeno-Honey Plum Jam (The Lazy Homesteader) I’m a fan of the hot stuff and this sounds like fun.  The name of the website also made me chuckle.
  • Raspberry Plum Jam (Completely Delicious) A no-pectin jam that combines raspberries and plums; raspberries would add plenty of pectin while plums would add a soften the texture to balance the seeds.  It’s a neat idea.

Fermenting

  • Plum Wine (GrapeStomper) This no-nonsense link has 2 recipes with no photos and walks you through the fundamentals of making plum wine.
  • How to Make Plum Wine (Wine Making Guides) If you like to get right to the point, this is a link for you.  The process of making plum wine explained in less than 300 words.  Booya!
  • Fermented Fruit Kvass (Green Kitchen Stories) Honey, ginger and fruit are fermented into a low-alcohol (similar to kombucha) beverage that’s perfect for summer!
  • Fermented Plum Brandy (Fresh Bites Daily)  Just a fantastic idea.  Really.
  • Plum (and other fruit) Vinegar (Organic Authority)  Not all fermenting is booze – here’s a quick guide to turning any fruit into vinegar!
  • Lacto-Fermented Plums (Rene Redzepi/ Noma) He is one of the best Chefs in the world.  And he shows you how to ferment plums in a video in less than 1.5 minutes!
  • Fermented Dark Plum Jam (Rejoice In Life) Jam made with honey that’s fermented for a few days on your counter before being stored in the fridge.  If you haven’t tried fermented jam yet, you’re missing out!

Dehydrating

  • How to Dry Plums (An Oregon Cottage)  These look simply beautiful and will be part of my kitchen in the near future!
  • Dried Plums or Prunes (Not Quite Nigella)  How to dehydrate plums in your oven (though my oven doesn’t go quite low enough).  The same recipe could be done in a dehydrator (though I’d dehydrate them around 135 degrees).
  • How to Make Fruit Plum Leather (Natasha’s Kitchen)  I didn’t eat fruit roll-ups very often as a child but they have a special place in my heart; especially when they are homemade.
  • Plum-Berry-Balsamic Fruit Leather (Hitchhiking to Heaven) Shae has been an on-line friend for many years and I love her recipes and am especially fond of the idea of adding acid to a fruit leather.
  • Homemade Umeboshi (Just Hungry).  Umeboshi is one of my all-time favorite ingredients.  We don’t have the ‘right’ plums to make these in most (if not all) of North America but there are some clever attempts like these – and I’m betting it would be touch to tell the difference based on some of the experiments we’ve done around the house.

Fridge or Freezer

  • How to Freeze a Plum (National Center for Home Food Preservation).  The no-nonsense guide to freezing plums.
  • How to Freeze Plums (I Hear Them All) I’ve never used a cherry pitter to pit a plum but this recipe makes it look easy.
  • Plum and Apple Freezer Compote (Mostly Eating) An easy way to preserve plums.
  • Plum Chutney/ Relish for the Fridge (Monsoon Spice) The idea of making ‘plum relish’ is new to me but I’d really like to use this on tacos or salads.
  • Spicy Sour Plum Chutney (tarladalal) I’m a big fan of sour food (I’m drinking a sour beer as I write this) and I think it’s a flavor that’s often overlooked in a lot of cooking, including mine.
  • Plum Chutney (Vah Rev Vah)  This is aggressively spiced (though not necessarily spicy) and I can’t imagine what it tastes like – which is why I’ve included it and will be making it in the next two weeks.

Infusions

  • Pear Infused Brandy (Island Vittles)  A classic combination and something I wish I knew about when my first mentor was alive.  We would often sip brandy together after long days of work and this would have made those evenings even sweeter!
  • Drunken Plums in Vodka (City Boy Hens) I thought the name was funny; vodka is a good ingredient to learn to infuse with as it has little flavour so it’s difficult to mess up).
  • Infuse Your Booze (Northwest Edible Life)  A fantastic primer on all sorts of infusing (they reccomend putting plums and cinamon in brandy!)

Other

  • Silovitz (Silovice.org) This is the absolutely zaniest recipe for preserving I’ve ever shared.  I can’t even try to describe what is done here – but if you want to make a whole lotta something that can eventually be distilled to make a whole lotta brandy this is the place to go.

From our Archives

More Bad News for Bees

CAPA (the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists) released it’s annual report on Colony losses across Canada for the 2013-14 winter.

3 Numbers are glaring:

  • A typical winter results in 15% colony loss is considered ‘acceptable’
  • The National Average loss last year was 25%
  • Ontario lost 58% of it’s colonies

Beyond the survival of the bees, continuous losses of 50%+ will create an environment where very few people will invest in or nurture bees.  The commercial collapse of beekeeping is a potential threat as considerable as the many other factors included in the CAPA report.

There are 3 things you can do to help, regardless of where you live.  I list them in order from easiest to lengthiest (step 3, the longest, will take about 10 minutes):

  1. Read this article in the Toronto Star that summarizes the report and some of the reasons why this is happening.  While Ontario had a bad winter, Ontario didn’t have the worst winter in Canada last year.
  2. Email The Honorable Jeff Leal (Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) to let him know that you are concerned and ask him to share that concern and treat this issue as important.
  3. Read the actual report (it’s 4 pages in very plain English)

Please also share your concerns with those around you; without bumblebees we will lose up t0 30% of our food choices.

Inglorious Fruit and Vegetables: France Battles Food Waste

In my TEDxToronto speech I called out the practice of wasting ‘ugly fruit and vegetables.’  I’m not the first one to make this plea and I won’t be the last.

The David Suzuki Foundation estimates that “Over 30 percent of fruits and vegetables in North America don’t even make it onto store shelves because they’re not pretty enough for picky consumers.”

The main reason that’s usually given for not selling ‘ugly’ food is that consumers will not buy it.  A major retailler in France just challenged this assumption and found quite the opposite.  Watch this 2.5 minute video and see how they’ve brought attention to this issue and celebrate the ‘ugly’ food: