Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Huntress

New Year's Resolution #1 and ONLY:

This year I will hunt, kill, clean, dress, process, cook, and eat an animal. 

Some people make New Year's Resolutions, like "I'm going to diet" or "I'm going to get more exercise."

Actually, most people make those resolutions.

Except that I can't diet and I already get enough exercise. When I have try dieting I always end up eating twice as often, and twice as much food because I can't satisfy my cravings. If I just eat the foods I want, and do my very best not to overeat, then I eat a reasonable amount and I won't gain weight. That is a lie, I will still get fat, because as my friend pointed out, all I eat is Beer, Bacon, and Butter. I have a devilish smile on my face after typing that sentence.

I don't need to resolve to get more exercise either because my dirty little secret is that I love to exercise (I know I'm nuts). Check out Bikram yoga if you are curious about how I stay in shape. I am addicted. Feel free to question my mental health at this point, but physically I know I'm toned and happy with my body. Feeling good about yourself is the best way to convince you to continue to exercise.

What I'm not happy with is my eating habits. So I am resolving to change them. I am going to try to reduce my footprint on the environment, and lighten my moral burden...by eating it.

I feel guilty eating foods that are grown without regard to their effect on the environment, and without concern for moral righteousness. I can't turn a blind eye to all the mistreatment of animals and unsustainable farming of vegetables that is happening out there. I'm a carnivore through and through.

I have decided I am going to work on eating meat that is more morally sound. I have to define this complicated topic, but I figure beginning with wild game is a safe way to ensure no human moral trash has tainted my meal.

I am going to "bring home the bacon." I will eat an animal whose life I have taken consciously, in an attempt to feed myself. I hope that by the end of the year I will be able to say that I have learned a lot about myself, about the world around me, and how to feel good about eating the things I love.

First Step: Meat 101 at My Butcher and More in Annapolis.

My good friend Mike Smollen (you'll remember his store from my sausage making video) hosted a wonderful introduction to butchery class this past Tuesday. Mike sources his meat from local farms that are environmentally sustainable, morally responsible, and have a fantastic final product. He dry ages his meat in house to enhance the flavors. This class is a way to teach his customers about the value of the way he runs his business.

We worked on a half pig because the cuts are less complicated than a cow, and larger than a lamb. Plus, pork rules! All it did was whet my appetite for breaking down a carcass. It was freakin' cool. See photos below:

Mike the Butcher, showing us the tools of the trade

Mike went through the carcass piece by piece to tell us where each cut comes from.

Yum Pork.

Every one had the opportunity to cut into the animal and ask questions about the quality of the meat

We used some of the scraps to make fresh sausage.

The class was a fun start to The Huntress project because I began to imagine what it will feel like to stand in front of a whole animal, that I have killed and begin to break it down. I can begin to see how much work it will take, and how much emotion it will involve.

This endeavor is unplanned but I'm looking forward to it's progression.

What's the next step? I don't know how to shoot a gun. I have to learn how to kill the animal quick, and clean.

I'll keep you informed of my accomplishments.

Stay tuned for mayhem!

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