September 6, 2016
The same could be said for any of Hank Shaw’s books, I suppose, in that none of them are written like the stereotypical, catalog of recipes. His latest, Buck, Buck, Moose, is a nicely written piece of work that happens to consist primarily of cooking instructions related to all things cervid…from antelope to moose meat.
If you’ve followed Hank’s work, either here on the Hog Blog or elsewhere, you recognize the cadence of the book title. Previously, he released Duck, Duck, Goose, which, as you’ll probably guess, is all about cooking with waterfowl. Who knows what’s next… Fish, Fish, Clam?
To the topic most recently at hand…
Buck, Buck, Moose really is a cookbook, of course. In it, as he does so well, Hank offers a variety of options for the successful hunter (or for the lucky recipient of gifted venison). There are ideas from around the world, literally, with everything from Romanian sausage to Icelandic Gravlax to Scottish Hough, to Wisconsin to Kentucky to Japan and so on. You’ll never need to wrap your venison in bacon or drown it in canned soup again… unless you like that sort of thing.
He also opens the book with a pretty solid, and thorough, introduction to basic game processing… from skinning through cutting it up to storage options. There are more extensive sources for any of these topics, but this is not a bad overview for someone who’s never done it before.
Personally, I’m not usually one for following recipes. I like ideas, and cookbooks do provide those, but as my high school chemistry teacher could attest, I have never been big on sticking to a formula. But Hank’s books don’t necessarily read like cookbooks, and to me, that’s what sets them apart.
When I got my copy of Buck, Buck, Moose (I paid for this one via Kickstarter… another story in itself), I flipped it open to skim through. I figured I’d take a look at what he’d done, maybe scope out an interesting recipe, and then put the book on the shelf. A couple of hours later, though, I’d totally tuned out everything else and had read half the book. It’s simply a pleasure to read.
It’s a little early yet for most of us to start talking about stuffing Christmas stockings, but deer season is open or opening all across the country over the next couple of months. That seems like a good excuse for a lovely gift. If you’re a hunter who is looking for some new options for cooking this year’s harvest, or if you’re the one in the kitchen left to figure out what to do with Nimrod’s pile of meat, you could do far worse than Buck, Buck, Moose.
Oh, and a gold star to anyone who recognizes certain names that may have found their way into the interludes…