There are few who like to see death.
I…am not one of them. At least not for the sake of just seeing death. I grew up with animals – a beautiful pet rabbit, a jovial golden retriever who died too young. A Siamese fighting fish who fought himself in the mirror too hard. However, I get excited by great ingredients- and I see death as a necessary byproduct of hunting and providing and surviving. Whether it’s the death of a plant or a flower, a bird, a clam, or a mammal, there used to be a distinction but that was bias. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that something is coming from the earth in order to give me something. Something. That something is the success of a crop grown right, the success of an animal farmed right, or the success of a hunt gone right. It all takes careful preparation to achieve food for the family – on the dinner table, in the most ethical way possible (obeying laws, and minimal suffering to the animal). And despite the necessity of death to one of the above, I want to emphasize that it’s often after the animal has been killed that I think we can be better. (I don’t deal with caged meat so let’s pull that out of the equation) .
I want to issue a challenge to all of us who have ever purchased a whole chicken, or have caught a fish on the river bank, or hunt or just cook on a regular basis. I’m getting political. I think the worst is when hunters or fishermen take a life, yet do not take their time with the meat or the fish and waste ten, twenty, thirty percent of the animal. As eaters, as readers, as people who can shape the world, and our nature, discerning individuals who now know that our beloved oToro is a finite resource – think – Why would we spend all this time and energy to make money to attain the best ingredient possible for our family or friends or kill an animal and waste? Why? No need for organic anything.
I’ve realized through hours of sweat, through days of failure, through weeks of thought, that to achieve a (wild, fulfilling dinner) involves much more than just walking up to quails or wading out to ducks or putting bacon on the table from nothing. There’s a process. It took me 15 months to get my first wild boar, even in a boar-rich environment. I took one of my best friends Ori Menashe, & for four months we didn’t even SEE a single boar. And when we attained the first one, it was a big hunt, and we dragged this 300 pound boar 550 yards jubilantly, and the next day when we cooked the filet, he said it was one of the top 10 things he/d ever eaten. It was so gratifying to truly know that food DOES taste better when there’s love put into it. And who loves food more than he/she who goes out and captures it and then cook it?
This kind of death, then, is the means to the end of celebration, of a certain community, and gratefulness. Today, I promise I will not waste food because food is finite. Food is valuable. I am privileged to eat food every day. And the food we capture or the food we work for is too valuable to let anything go to waste. No waste – Not the cheeks nor the ribs nor the liver nor the heart. Not even the bones. Life is too precious to waste any part of it. Eat up. Wherever you are. Traveling to NYC soon.
Food to come.