Pursuit of Food Philosophy

Philosophy??  Here goes: (a lot can be summed in my first hunt)

I don’t want to just take an animal’s life and pose with the trophy – that’s empty.  Like just getting the punchline – it lacks context.  Nor do I just aim to shoot food porn – because while mouth-watering, it doesn’t tell the whole story; you’ve gone to the end of the Choose Your Own Adventure Book, without actually experiencing the adventure.  And surely it doesn’t fully respect where the beautiful food on the white plate came from.

The aim of this site is really to show food through its entire process.  

So that people who have never experienced anything outside the confines of the cubicle may know what it’s like to be in the forest, underwater, or at the farms through the written word, picture, and video.  And if someone’s curiosity could be piqued ever so slightly to come to the point that they may be closer with Earth themselves, then I would be happy.  Well I’m pretty much always happy but really, I’d be fucken ecstatic ; )

The philosophy of this site is underlined by fish and accentuated through food: Give a man a fish, and feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.  My aim is that there can be something to be learned and that the food on the plate will tell a complete story.  One that will inspire and make you salivate without MSG(i love MSG…).  That the site and the ideas can transcend the controversy that usually surrounds hunting…and bring us back to our roots to our second most elemental need:

  1. Wine 🙂 Water
  2. Food
I doubt people get down on the Native Americans or Eskimoes with their huge kills of Buffalo and Whales.  Because it’s not the kill that is disheartening – it’s the waste.  Because they use every bit of the animal to its full potential.  And if we respect death, we can understand how to better respect life.  It’s important to see where things come from in order to see where things are now, and help create a better life for animals down the road.  We’re looking at a timeline, and soon, I’ll outline(tag) some of the more philosophical posts, and will in short, say that the philosophy here is similar to Thomas Keller’s (story following), but we’re going to take it one step further.  One important step further, which includes the Pursuit of Food, and not knowing whether I’ll come home empty-handed, or with a cooler full of Earth’s bounty.
That’s exciting.  Go on the journey with me 🙂

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. – Philippians 4:12

The Importance of Rabbits

From 1980 to 1983, I worked in the kitchen of a small restaurant near Catskill, New York, on a patch of the Hudson River Valley so remote it didn’t have an address.  The sixty-seat restaurant was owned by Rene and Paulette Macary (she remains its proprietor today).  La Rive, named thus because it sat on a wide running creek, was a fruitful training ground, and New York State had extraordinary livestock.  Beautiful veal came down from Utica.  I found a man who raised spectacular pigeons.  I began to ask these farmers for unusual items to experiment with, things like pigs’ ears, cockscombs, duck testicles.  

One day, I asked my rabbit purveyor to show me how to kill, skin, and eviscerate a rabbit.  I had never done this, and I figured if I was going to cook rabbit, I should know it from its live state through the slaughtering, skinning, and butchering, and then the cooking.  the guy showed up with twelve live rabbits.  He hit one over the head with a club, knocked it out, slit its throat, pinned it to a board, skinned it – the whole bit.  Then he left.

I don’t know what else I expected, but there I was out in the grass behind the restaurant, just me and eleven cute bunnies, all of which were on the menu that week and had to find their way into a braising pan.  I clutched at the first rabbit.  I had a hard time killing it.  It screamed.  Rabbits scream and this one screamed loudly.  Then it broke its leg trying to get away.  It was terrible.

The next ten rabbits didnt’ scream and I was quick with the kill, but that first screaming rabbit not only gave me a lesson in butchering, it also taught me about waste.  Because killing those rabbits had been such an awful experience, I would not squander them.  I would use all my powers as a chef to ensure that those rabbits were beautiful.  It’s very easy to go to a grocery store and buy meat, then accidentally overcook it and throw it away.  A cook sautéing a rabbit loin, working the line on a Saturday night, a million pans going, plates going out the door, who took that loin a little too far, doesn’t hesitate, just dumps it in the garbage and fires another.  Would that cook, I wonder, have let his attention stray from that loin had he killed the rabbit himself?  No.  Should a cook squander anything, ever?  

It was a simple lesson.

-Thomas Keller, The French Laundry Cookbook