OPINION — There are as many opinions about which animals offer the best tasting meat as there are hunters in the woods.
Once an animal is in the ground, the way it is prepared dramatically alters the taste and quality of the food.
My lovely wife has her say in which market employs the best butchers, and each consumer prefers their own level of balance between fat and lean in the marbling of each cut.
Those who eat meat have among them some who claim that they can detect the quality of the food that was fed to the animal: “This deer was fed with corn.” While another might have “lived on fat and sage”.
I prefer pronghorn to any other game on the plains.
I know of others who consider antelope inedible.
If you were served a poorly prepared meal as a child and told to clean your plate, you may have given up a variety of foods, cuts of meat, or cooking styles.
The barbecue has legions of fans, culinary contests at county fairs, dozens not hundreds of books and recipes that detail the preparation of cures, the duration and temperature of the heat applied, and the number of times each is allowed to be turned over. ration.
Do you let your meat rest?
Or is it better to serve it steamed?
I love the flavorful white meat of rabbit and squirrel, dishes I served to my college roommates with rave reviews.
But the culinary police in my home kitchen have banned them.
Bred by ranching lore that proclaimed that only the poorest ranchers could not afford to eat their own meat, rodent meat was seen as perhaps the greatest admission that poverty was afoot.
It was never about the taste, but about the intellectual principle that to eat certain foods was to admit economic failure.
If you ate a squirrel, would you consider rats?
I admit, much to the discomfort of my students, that I would.
I have a genetic memory of a great famine.
If you carry a few drops of Irish blood, as two-thirds of Americans tested do, you too are motivated to prepare against hunger.
The potato famine devastated the population of that country, with millions emigrating to the United States and a million more left behind to starve.
Meat has always been among the greatest luxuries.
I still have my family’s last ration books from World War II.
If the chubby generations that followed could see the meager intake allowed during times of conflict, they would be shocked.
The fact that rich nations can afford to pour their grain into their cattle and fuel tanks makes them the envy of less prosperous ones.
Cuban adults in the 1990s lost 15% of their body weight as Russian economic support waned.
Wars have always focused on disrupting supply chains; from food to fuel, from access to information to the ability to travel freely.
Propagandists had the job of distorting reality to reflect their political goals.
Lobster and pork belly were once served only to slaves, but savvy merchants changed perspectives.
Ukraine was the world’s second largest grain exporting nation behind the US until the most recent Russian invasion.
On a recent road trip to Kentucky, I was amazed at a thousand miles of grain fields, enough to apparently feed the world.
But agents of change are emerging that will restrict the cheap transfer of those foods between nations.
“Victory Gardens” was a slogan once used to motivate families to become food independent. The hunt was seen as a continuation of that ethos.
The recent explosion in popularity of backyard chicken coops, a 758% increase in Amazon-related search phrases, seems to demonstrate a growing awareness nationwide that our long period of peaceful global coexistence and interdependence may wane.
Always a hunter-gatherer, I have expanded my gardens and purchased pairs of Scotch Highland cows and calves for each grandson.
The same breed led by the Queen of England, the Scotch Highland is hardy and able to withstand our winter blizzards while producing a grass-fed marbling in its meat that has won national championships in carcass quality.
Its meat has been described as the most tender and low in fat and cholesterol.
I’ve never been a meat fanatic, but I can’t wait to compare Highland beef to prairie antelope.
The Speirs family has owned and operated the Crow Creek Wildlife Management Service since 1996.
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