Saturday, February 18, 2006

Oh, deer...

It is freezing ass cold tonight and I was driving home from a kitchen tools gig when I passed a dead deer on the onramp to the highway. I pulled over, put my flashers on and seriously considered whether I wanted to throw it into the back of my minivan. Didn't have a garbage bag on hand, so I decided against it and rushed home to my darling husband and told him to go and get it with his truck. We'll see if it is still there.

There is a slaughter house in Swansea where we can bring it to get dressed.

I grew up on a farm and it is moments like these... passing a dead deer on the road, with my first thought of venison stew with artichokes and sun dried tomatoes, that I realize that I am a farm girl, deep down in my soul.

We slaughtered things. We raised them, loved them, treated them well and then either carted them off to Swansea or just took care of it out in the lean-to of the barn. By the time I was 9 I could dispatch a chicken with little fuss. I could strip it of feathers, clean the guts and cook it, too. Same with rabbits.

My friends had farms too. Steve and Linda were Portuguese, their old man ran a nursery in Portsmouth. Once I was hanging out over there and wandered into a huge outbuilding. There was a skinned cow hanging from the ceiling by one hairy hoof. I was struck by the ridiculousness of it.

My husband didn't live on a farm as a kid. He grew up in a town, but they raised pigeons in the back yard and sold them to the local French restaurant. They had a couple of chickens too. Everyone in Vietnam did.

So, I don't know if he'll actually have the nerve to bag a whole dead deer.

I'll keep you posted.


It is now 1:06 am and I just spent the last hour coaching my husband on how to gut a deer. It's in the garage even as we speak. Skinned and hanging from that incongruously hairy foot.

A strange night in suburbia!

Venison stew with artichokes and sun dried tomatoes: It's what's for dinner.


ukok said...

Eww. I'm sorry, but the thought of eating road kill just turns my stomach! I know that to you this is probably perfectly natural, but where I live we buy our meat neatly packaged at the supermarket!

I probably wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have a shop just down the road and a doctors surgery 3 doors away from where I live. I'm pretty much a towny but my heart yearns for the countryside like where I spent 3 years of my life on a farm when I was younger(we had cows and sheep but didn't slaughter them ourselves, nor eat their produce.

I must sound awfully 'delicate', but I can assure you I'm more beefy than most cows!

I'm just fascinated at the differences between us :)

God Bless

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Hi UKok,

To be honest, I wouldn't have even thought of the venison if we hadn't been given a leg of deer about a month ago. It was our very first time cooking it and it is a delicacy in Vietnam. (Game in general...) So with our first leg we made Vietnamese curry stew with it.

And yes, this whole operation was not for the feint of heart. It was about as primal as one can get. But in a strange way, I began to see it as this unexpected gift. I made sure to say a little prayer of thanks to God in church this morning. And thought a lot about all those burnt offerings we've been reading about in the bible.

It is kind of an American thing, too, to live off the land. But it usually doesn't happen a hundred yards from a mall! LOL.

And yeah, it's not like I'll be cruising for roadkill. (Hmmm, that squirrel looks fresh...) NOT!

juniper68 said...

Hey Rachel,
This story reminded me of the essayist Bailey White - do you know her? She has a story about her mother proclivity for road kill - because of the freshness issue, she makes her mom tell her the make and color the of the car that did the deed before she'll eat anything her mom brings home. It's hilarious.

Rachel's Big Dunk said...


That is hilarious!

My mom is that kind of homemaker. She could kill and dress a chicken and cook and serve it to you for lunch in less time than it takes most of us to go to a drive through.

I am going to get White's book!