Venison and Democracy

So the SuperHusband went to a couple 3-D archery shoots this summer, and came to the realization that maybe it was time to set the sights on something more lively than foam. Enter a friend whose vineyard is being over-browsed, another friend unloading a Spigarelli re-curve, and a wife who does a modest impression of the Spouse Who Doesn’t Mind You Are Gone Hunting EVERY NIGHT After Work . . . and after a month or two, voila: Dinner.

Wow. One little doe = a lot of meat.

Living history on so many levels. There’s the whole butchering the animal thing, which was pretty interesting. There’s the waste-not-want instinct that kicks in — hence there is a nice doe skin sitting in my freezer, waiting for some boys to tan it. Or, watch some children amuse themselves with the spare parts, that’s a real eye-opener.

But the real kicker to me is land rights. Because, wow, the deer, they’re just out there. And the lower-tech counterpart of the SuperHusband’s bow is a relatively accessible weapon, for your average medieval european or native american or so on. Which means that if you can obtain the right to hunt on the land where the deer are, goodness! That’s a lot of food to be had.

It is hard to appreciate feudal Europe (or, the commandeering of North America) for an average resident of the industrialized west. Landholding means so little to us — we live in a little neighborhood, or an apartment, and yet magically have all the food we could want and nearly everything else besides. We lose track of how important the land = power equation was throughout most of history.

Depending on who gets to use the land, and under what conditions, your economic structures are going to be totally different. And of course, political structures are both the source and the result of the economic structures.

[And then there’s the bit about how the same weapon used to harvest Bambi is can be turn against fellow man, as needed. Handy in a pinch — though I don’t honestly expect our compound will ever be raided by despots on account of our archery arsenal.]

So that’s been our autumn living history lesson here. Things you sort of know, but don’t really quite get the hang of until you have it in hand.


BTW: Our best recipe so far: Put a random slab of venison in the crockpot with a little liquid, to slow cook all day, pot-roast style. In the evening, shred and use in the _Joy of Cooking’s_ beef stroganoff recipe. Wow. Just wow.

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