Friday, September 22, 2006

Winner, winner, pheasant dinner!

Common critique out here in farm and ranch territory often drifts toward how most of the United States lives lacking awareness regarding from where its food comes. I like to think I hold some awareness of food production...some of my favorite books deal with food production--namely Food Politics by Marion Nestle and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.


Today I encountered the culture of food source and production in vivid detail. At least the vivid nature of my dinner tonight did not hit me until I had to remove this talon/claw from a pheasant I received from our neighbor several months ago. The bird sat in my freezer, mocking me, reminding me of how disconnected I am to a major part of South Dakota culture. People come from all over the world to hunt these birds. I live in close proximity to world class pheasant hunting. After opening the bag and preparing tonight's dinner, I realized I know nothing of food sources. Reading about the sources of food did not prepare me for the view of a talon. I am thankful my wife wasn't around. She may have had to leave the house in an apoplectic rush.

My neighbor gave this bird in a spirit of friendship and neighborliness, I could at least cook it. It took me five swipes with my largest kitchen blade (a cleaver would have been nice) to remove this talon from its appendage. With the first swipe I hit a muscle just right--and the talon opened (btw, everytime I think of the word talon, I think of Napoleon Dynamite inquiring about the size of a bird's talons).

City boy, out of touch, out of my element--all the sound bite commentary fits. At least I took a little bit of South Dakota culture into the fiber of my being. A strange journey for a Pacific Northwest boy and a former vegetarian.

I baked the pheasant, basted it with Famous Dave's BBQ Sauce, and served the meat with classic Upper Midwest staples: rice (I diverted from custom and used brown rice) and cream of mushroom soup. Bon appetite!


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Response to a shakeup in the organization

My friend Theobilly has decided to evaluate his organizational priorities and shuffle his favorite blogs.

I don't want to be sent to the minors! Elmira is a hell hole!

Since my circulation would be even more suspect without my Theobilly connection, I need to inform my readers that I have lived the past several weeks on the injured reserve. Real injuries of joint, muscle and bone need not prevent me from writing. In fact, my writing in times of physical injury allow greater space in my disposition for writing. In reading a compelling memoir of Maryann Buck Carver, first wife of the late, great short story writer Raymond Carver, I learned that a certain amount of instability in his home life prevented Ray the space for his mind and pen to roam free. I appreciate Carver's need for some stability for the creative process. Life with my wife and daughter has occupied most thoughts in August and early September. Since our recent rehab assignment to the University of Minnesota, I am ready to come back to the big club and contribute to the Theobilly team of crack(pot) observers of life.

Life is better in that we have a developing routine. Good for our household and outlook.

Check in with me in late October/early November when the baby comes. At least I will have a few weeks to write. I miss the writing life. I never wanted to leave it in the first place--but at least I won't judge myself for the break.