If you love the outdoors--its beauty, bounty, and diversity--I am just like you. If you enjoy being creative in the kitchen as you prepare delicious and sometimes unusual meals for your friends and family, I am just like you. And if you take pride in savoring the rewards of your outdoor adventures in a carefully planned and prepared meal that makes the most of what you harvest in the field, I am just like you. I am not a professional fisherman, hunter, or chef: I am just like you.
As the idea for the content of this book began to come together, I decided that “just another cookbook”--even one that focuses on wild fish and game rather than their domestic counterparts--would probably not generate much interest, and that an approach that differed from other wild-game cookbooks would be essential.
First, you’ll find a series of stories that relate actual outdoor adventures I’ve been fortunate enough to experience over the past fifty-plus years.
Second, you’ll note that each story features a complete-meal menu and the associated recipes at its conclusion. The message and intent here is to relate adventures about one or more particular species and then help you with ideas as to how to prepare them for the table in ways that are both appetizing and visually appealing.
Third, there are complete-meal menus of complimentary dishes rather than single dishes that you have to decide how to combine with other items to make a complete meal. While there are a number of excellent wild fish and game recipe and/or cookbooks available today, very few “connect the dots” between the dish made with the animal you harvested and other elements of a meal that complement each other. This approach allows me to help you and your families and guests find the idea of eating wild game more appetizing.
Finally, the recipes and menus are, with only a few exceptions, fairly simple and straightforward. That is, you should be able to prepare meals that your friends and families will enjoy even if you aren’t an expert in the kitchen, and your friends and family members aren’t used to eating wild game.
One thing you won’t find in this book is “exceptions,” or “workarounds,” for the gamey or fishy taste some hunters or diners may have experienced. Even traditionally “wild-tasting” meats are delicious if the proper care is taken with them in the field and, later, in the kitchen. Most gamey or fishy flavors can be dealt with effectively through menu and ingredient selections.
You’ll also be glad to know that in many instances, the game upon which featured recipes are based can be replaced with “domestic,” or commercially available, equivalents without completely sacrificing the intended essence. But this is a book about wild game, so I truly hope that you can experience the recipes as they were intended!
You will also find that there are some instances in which a particular recipe can be paired with more than one species of animal. Find combinations that work for you. Enjoying every aspect of your outdoor experiences is what this book is all about!