Posts Tagged ‘book review’
Monday, June 18th, 2012
If you’ve read my blog over the last year, you know my leisure reading often focuses on the connection between hunting and food. Steven Rinella’s two novels, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and American Buffalo, first hooked me on the subject. Hank Shaw’s Hunt, Gather, Cook and Georgia Pellegrini’s Girl Hunter extended my interest in the theme. My latest exploration of the topic was Tovar Cerulli’s new book The Mindful Carnivore.
Admittedly, I was skeptical beginning Cerulli’s book. The jacket cover promoted the book as a vegan’s journey into hunting, so I was on alert for a disingenuous story of incongruous ideologies to simply turn a couple bucks. My fears were quickly calmed with Cerulli’s scholarly treatment of the subject, and ultimately I became fascinated with his internal struggles coming to terms with the decision to put the killing of his family’s food into his own hands. Like Aldo Leopold, Cerulli came to recognize the problems associated with society’s lack of understanding about food and its connection to land.
What I enjoyed most about The Mindful Carnivore was the amount of focus Cerulli spent on the connection between wildlife habitat conservation, hunting and food. While Rinella, Shaw and Pellegrini all addressed conservation to varying degrees, Cerulli dove deep into the topic and even held conservation up as the reason hunting made sense to him over vegetarianism. In the process, he came to the realization that all food – vegetables and meat –result in the death of animals one way or another. As you can imagine from Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s perspective, I was excited to read Cerulli’s compelling arguments for a conservation ethic when making food choices.
The only trouble I had with the book was the majority of Cerulli’s hunting focused on whitetails. While it’s hard to argue with the volume of meat and taste of venison from a deer, I’d have liked to read about Cerulli’s perspective of hunting birds in cooperation with animals- dogs. Perhaps that’s part of his future plans.
Although this is his first book, Cerulli writes with the confidence of a seasoned vet. His voice is engaging, his rationale logical, and his research thorough. Overall, The Mindful Carnivore was a really easy, thought-provoking read.
Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, women’s participation in hunting has increased by 36.6 percent over the last decade. That percentage represents 660,000 new female hunters busting cattails, climbing into tree stands and hiding in camouflaged pit blinds. One of those women is Georgia Pellegrini, author of the new book Girl Hunter.
Theories abound as to why women are picking up firearms or bows in greater numbers these days. As near as I can tell, women’s reasons for enjoying hunting are as diverse as their male counterparts. In Georgia’s case, her love of food was the genesis for her interest in hunting. She explains, “I’m an omnivore who has solved her dilemma; I’m a girl hunter.”
Like Steven Rinella’s The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and Hank Shaw’s Hunt, Gather, Cook, Pellegrini’s Girl Hunter leads the reader on a variety of hunting adventures through the eyes of a chef first and a woman second. The end of each chapter also features a handful of recipes associated with the game she pursued during the chapter.
In the book, Georgia pursues upland birds, waterfowl and big game. She even slays a wild boar with only a knife in hand. All the while, her hunts are shaped by the people who serve as mentors, guides, and friends. There are also a few encounters with the kinds of unethical people who give all hunters and men bad reputations.
Girl Hunter’s characters are well-rounded and the stories move at a rapid pace making for a very fun read; however, it’s Georgia’s own thoughts about hunting for food that resonated most for me. In particular, the book’s last chapter about squirrel hunting stands out. I have never been a fan of squirrel meat or squirrel hunting, but the juxtaposition of this beautiful and intelligent city girl waxing poetic about her love of the nutty flavor of squirrel meat has made me anxious for September’s squirrel season.
Whether you’re a man or woman, long-time hunter or newbie, I highly recommend you find some time to read Girl Hunter.
NOTE: I also had the pleasure of interviewing Georgia for FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN 100.3FM. Listen to the March 31st podcasts for Georgia’s own recount of the book and her introduction to hunting.
Monday, March 8th, 2010
As the ice on the lakes begins to weaken and most of the hunters wait for gobbler season, I’d like to suggest two books I’ve just read that would fit on any outdoors lover’s bookshelf.
American Buffalo by Steven Rinella: In 2005, Rinella was one of 24 people to win a lottery tag to hunt wild buffalo in Alaska. The story of his hunt is weaved through an historical recount of the buffalo’s place in American history. Grizzly bears, wolves, Neil Young, the Buffalo nickel, and Ted Turner all make appearances in this fascinating tale of the hunt. Rinella’s first book, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine, is up next on my book shelf. If you’ve read it already, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Ruffed Grouse – - Woodland Drummer by Michael Furtman: Until I finished this text, I had no idea how important a drumming log was to the ruffed grouse’s life cycle. This quick read will take you through the life of a ruffed grouse and provide you with some important tidbits that will make you a better grouse hunter come autumn. The book is also filled with some fantastic photography from a guy that’s also had his work appear on the cover of the Pheasants Forever Journal. I’m also very interested in Bill Marchel’s drumming log experiment. Can’t wait to see how the experiment goes Bill.