Sunday, January 12, 2014

Venison and Bourbon

A wise woman (ok it was my mother) recently told me that you shouldn’t believe anything you think between 2:00 and 4:00 am. Having suffered from anxiety and depression for most of my life, I can tell you that theory is correct. Those hours, when every worry and daemon craws into bed with you, can be some of the worst hours spent on this earth. I have tried most of the prescription medicines available for depression, some of them - in my personal opinion - did more harm than good, but I have found one thing that works.  


I am not talking mass quantities here, and you can think of it as medicinal if you like. However; a quiet drink of something warming and soothing does more, in the moment, than any pill ever did. It is enjoyable and helps me get back to sleep so I can get on with things tomorrow. Much of my life, when I’m truly struggling, is about getting out of bed, and putting one foot in front of the other. There are times when this is not possible.  I realize that to some the idea of sitting quietly sipping on a glass of whiskey sounds like the act of an alcoholic, but I assure you it isn’t every night, nor is it ever more than a single drink, on the rocks. I say, a few moments of solitary pleasure can be exceedingly hard to find in this world, and, if it was good enough for my ancestors, it’s good enough for me.   

And speaking of ancestral drams and vittles, I have acquired half a side of Venison. The details are murky, as these things go, a friend of a friend of a family member found themselves with too much meat and I was able to snatch it up in exchange for paying half of the processing fees. It works out to be approximately $2.00/lb which is incredibly inexpensive for any animal protein let alone a specialty item.  

The problem is, my repertoire of Venison dishes comes to exactly three: Tourtiere, a French Canadian densely packed meat pie traditionally served on Christmas Eve; Potage Noir, a deep dish analogue of Shepherd’s Pie; and Venison Stew.  I’ve already had several suggestions that I use deer in any dish I might customarily use beef, and techniques to cover up the fact that it is game, but that isn’t exactly what I’m looking for. What I want, are dishes that accent, if not celebrate, the fact that this is game instead of some slightly funky beef substitute. The search is on.  

Last night’s Apple Crumble, with the addition of a little cream, has become this morning’s breakfast. Do not call the diet police; they already know where I live.

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