Weekend Review


A busy weekend with M. here–lots of time in the kitchen making a pot roast in the crockpot, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, pancakes for breakfast, and then there were the never-ending dishes.

We played some Star Wars Galactic Heroes at the kitchen table–I won just one game out of many.  Finished reading Ole Rolvaag’s Giants in the Earth, which I’ve had on my shelf for years and finally managed to get into.

M. curled up in the crook of my arm on Saturday evening, asked what (my page numbers) 288 plus 289 equals, and then dropped off to sleep.  I stayed there reading and snuggling for as long as I could–then my back started hurting, and it was time to make dinner.

If you want an indicator of grocery store prices skyrocketing, here’s one: I stopped by Hy-Vee to get a small chuck roast (about 2 1/2 lbs.) and a 5lb. bag of flour.  The chuck roast, which is not exactly a prime cut of meat, was over ten dollars on special, and the flour (and I do get the best quality–Wheat Montana) was over five dollars.

That roast was incredibly fatty–very little quality meat even after a slow cooking, and the dog probably ended up with half of it as scraps on her food.  And speaking of dog food, I went to Campbell’s for a big bag of lamb and rice Science Diet, and the price on that has gone through the roof as well: fifty bucks for a thirty-five pound bag!

I did spring for a bag for Vega–she has been on the cheaper food for a couple months and her coat was starting to show it–not to mention the garbage-eating the moment I walk out the door.  But it nearly choked me to pay that much, and I worried it might be missing from my truck when I stopped for the other groceries at Hy-Vee.

At least gas is less now, though my driving is pretty limited, and it seems the only time I have to fill my tank is when I go up to Brookings or Sioux Falls to pick up M. for a visit.

I’ve decided some of the gender roles still hold around here and told H. it’s his job to find us some meat–whether it be a filled deer tag, a quarter of a beef or buffalo, or some other local possibility.  If we’re going to eat meat here (and I can do without more than he can), he’s going to be the one to bring home the bacon.  I figure if I spend all spring and summer coaxing veggies form the earth and all fall and winter canning and preserving them, I’ve done my part.

I think it amused him to see me stomping my foot and demanding a carcass for the freezer, but in the end he took me seriously and said he’d work on it.  Phew!  I’d spent my trip to Brookings yesterday thinking about how it might be time to take the Hunter’s Safety Course (which my parents tried to force me to do as a youngster and I flatly refused) and borrow a blaze orange vest.

It’s hard for me to eat an animal I’ve killed and cleaned myself–I can do it, but I have to put myself in a dissociative state to avoid a certain amount of stomach-turning.  It’s not the killing and cleaning itself–it’s the preparing and eating once I’ve done those things.

I don’t know if maybe men have an easier time separating themselves from that act, or if the men I’ve known have simply been eating what they’ve killed since they were boys and have gotten over it.  Too, it might be that they’ve usually had someone else to “break the chain” between their killing and dressing and the final meal–their wives and mothers tended to be the ones preparing and cooking what they’d brought home.

At any rate, I probably will take the Hunter’s Safety Course if it’s offered locally next year, just so I have it under my belt should I feel the need to get my own meat.  Maybe I could trade some of my own for some other person’s bounty so I could eat a little more easily.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. It’s funny that you would bring up the hunting issue. Over the last couple of weeks I read three books about local food: Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and Gary Nabhan’s Coming Home to Eat. All three books go into detail about the conflicted feeings that either the author or someone close to the author had about killing animals for food. The strength of their discomfort and the discomfort of those around them didn’t necessarily follow gender lines. It seemed to have more to do with how late in their lives they took up killing the meat they ate themselves and their overall sensitivity in general.

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on November 17, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Having grown up in a hunting/trapping/fishing family, I have eaten wild meat all my life, but even having grown up around it, and having watched my family clean animals they’d shot or trapped, I was never interested in hunting myself. It seemed to me like golf was to Mark Twain: “a good walk [in the woods], spoiled.”

    Fishing was my sport, and I’ve had a fishing license off and on for many years (I did a lot of fishing when I lived on the Rosebud, especially–not so much the last few years). I have much less of a problem eating what I’ve caught from the water than, say, the ducks I raised.

    So, it’s probably not a gender thing so much as a familiarity thing, though in my family, to be sure, most of the meat was brought home by my father and brother. But my mom wasn’t against sliding open the screen door and shooting a greedy squirrel off her bird feeder every now and then! Sometimes we ate them; sometimes the coyotes did.

  3. Posted by Claire on November 17, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    hey, that local foods guide posted awhile back had some meat options in there. Might be a place to start?

  4. Posted by flyingtomato on November 17, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Absolutely–though I am hoping for some low-cost quality meat to fill the freezer for the next year. From there, I might browse the local food book to see what supplemental variety I can find there.

  5. Posted by Matt on November 18, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    your mother shooting squirrels goes a long way to explaining why you have such an aura of frontierswoman about you. heh heh. Go MOM!

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