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Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Cutting your nose off

Avoid 'Pink Slime' by going hunting!
"Pink slime" isn't exactly what it sounds like, but the nickname certainly doesn't make it sound more appealing, so there's no wonder why a public uprising has resulted in almost every potential market pulling it from their ground beef.

Of course, some of us have never worried about "pink slime," or what they put in store-bought ground beef in the first place. Those of us who are hunters generally have freezers stocked with food that is as natural and healthy as can be found on the face of the earth.

What kind of food would you rather put into your body? An animal that is raised on a ranch specifically to be killed for food, fed antibodies, steroids, and other chemicals, or a wild animal that survived in the wild, foraging on it's own, and competing with the real world for survival?

Add to the quality and "naturalness" of wild food, and you have the healthy physical aspects of going out hunting, climbing the mountains or tromping the fields or wading the marsh in search of that wild game.

The truth is, you can't find a healthier lifestyle or diet than that of a hunter. Add to that a good garden, and you become a "gatherer," too, so it's the best of all worlds. I've been working on a cookbook for some 40 years now that's based on all of that, called "Game and Garden," with recipes based on all-natural foods that you have shot, caught or grown in your own garden. I'm afraid the cookbook is still a year or so away, but you get the idea. It's as "green" as you get (as much as I hate that word, and what it's become.)

Just think about it: There is no "hand of man" in wild game food: no food laced with antibiotics, additives, hormones or anything else. It's "natural," or as the elite like to say, "organic!"  

Because wild game lives in the — well, "wild" — the animals have to work for a living, so they are far leaner than domesticated animals. Game meat has about a third fewer calories, and game birds have about half the calories of domestic birds. There is far less saturated fat, and total fat in general.

In my freezers right now, I have quite a few choices of ground meat: antelope, venison (whitetail and mule deer), elk, a little bit of moose burger left, and two types of ground pork (Italian spicy and country). I also have summer sausage made from ground game, and intend to take in some goose breasts I have, to mix with pork, and make into pepperoni sticks.

And talk about other varieties of wild food? I have halibut from Alaska, yellowtail, dorado, sea bass and yellowfin tuna from Baja, salmon from Oregon and California, pheasants, chukar and quail, clam strips from my clamming expeditions, and of course, most every kind of wild pig cut you can imagine.

It may seem expensive to buy your hunting and fishing licenses and tags, but by the time you have all that meat in your freezer, the costs come out pretty affordable when compared to store-bought meat and fish. But the big deal to me is, and always has been, the health of what you are eating.

I've never been worried about "pink slime," nor am I worried about the next  thing that's going to come up on the news to worry us: I'll stick to the outdoors for my personal physical and mental health, and to wild and homegrown foods for their healthy benefits.
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