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Hunter Gatherer with Rohan Anderson – The Hunting, Farming Family Cook

by Jenny Butler
Friday 2nd September 2011

It has been such an amazing week getting to know Rohan Anderson and seeing a glimpse of his hunter gatherer lifestyle. A huge THANK YOU to Rohan for generously sharing his family, food and stories with us as part of Man Week. For more of Rohan’s adventures be sure to bookmark his blog, Whole Larder Love. Happy weekend! – Jenny x

Have you ever tasted wild or home raised meat? Not only is it a delicious version compared to the farmed stuff, but in my mind it’s a more ethical way to acquire your meat. I discovered recently that at commercial chicken farms, the male chicks are euthanized after only a few weeks – what a waste of a resource!  If you’re going to breed animals and bring new life into the world at least let it serve a purpose. No wonder so many people are vegetarians based purely on ethics, and good on them too, I hope they make a difference.

For our family we get a good portion of our meat either by hunting or by dispatching home raised poultry. I often get a text message from friends to come pick up unwanted ducks or roosters to dispatch, and let me tell you the taste is nothing like the intensively farmed version. For a start, the breeds that we get are so varied compared to the commercial birds. Commercial chicken farms stick to only two or three breeds, mostly based on speed of development and amount of meat, not chosen based on flavour. The dispatching of home raised animals is a task that hails back the when nomadic families began to farm. It’s not a pleasant task but if you want meat, you work for it.

The same is to be said for hunting. In the lean times in Australia many families would eat more rabbit than lamb or beef, but these days it’s a meat that’s barely considered. Hare too is something we often cook with, it’s the royal game meat, tasting something between rabbit and venison.

When in season I hunt quail and ducks, and on most outings I don’t get anywhere near my legal bag limit. Yes all these forms of ‘meat acquisition’ require me to go out with a rifle or a shotgun and, yes kill something. I’ve often had people send me hate mail for this very reason, reminding me that we have supermarkets these days and so on. I always politely reply that I think that’s the very heart of the problem – our demand for convenience resulting in dodgy farming methods. I’m no redneck, I’m not a blood thirsty killer, I don’t shoot at country road signs or protected species. I do however use a rifle as a tool to acquire meat for the table; animals that have lived a good life in the wild, and in the case of the rabbit and hare, a classified invasive pest species.

I cook a range of recipes for the hare and rabbit, from traditional Catalan, French Mustard bake and variations of classic Australian Country braised. The ducks and quail roast well and make fantastic ragus and risotto. There are endless ways to cook these forms of natural raised meats, and with each meal I’m learning something new while keeping my family happily fed.

Rohan


by Jenny Butler
Friday 2nd September 2011

12 comments

  • daniel 3 years ago

    thanks for a wonderful week

  • Margie 3 years ago

    I feel I need to channel my inner bloke… I am a semi-urban dweller, and would LOVE to know how to prepare my own meat for consumption. I am sure women used to do this work (I’m thinking the backyard chook variety, not so much the shot variety), but the skills have been lost in the fast and loose growth of supermarket culture…

  • Rohan 3 years ago

    Thanks for reading Daniel!

    @ Margie yes it’s another faded gem of our culture. Not only is it a shame that these skills are lost culturally speaking but it’s part of a larger more complex problem. We have become so distant from the reality of where our food comes from and the processes involved to get said food to our plate. Us not knowing these processes has lead to an acceptance of supermarket reliance allowing ‘them’ to get away with what ever they want!!

    If you ever want to learn the skill drop me a line and I’ll show you. Thanks for reading my guest blog this week, I had a blast writing it!

  • Rohan 3 years ago

    Oh thanks to Lucy and Jenny for inviting me to stay here for a week. It’s been such a cosy and comfortable visit. xo

  • Rach 3 years ago

    Go Ro! Good on you!
    To all the haters of hunting for food – I am a total animal lover and never thought I’d let any of my chooks go off to be eaten. But after seeing what 7 roosters can and will do to each other to compete for highest rank, they are better off being humanely dispatched, as Rohan did to mine! I feel no guilt knowing that they will not be ferociously pecked at and left to die slowly and painfully. And they lived a much better life than the chooks sitting in the freezer section of the supermarket.
    I’ve been converted!
    Rach

  • laura 3 years ago

    Hey RO, Have enjoyed your posts and loved “feasting” on your beautiful pics. I am a vego and haven’t eaten meat for more of my life than not. I applaud your approach to meat eating and think if more meat eaters had to source their own they wouldn’t be able to eat it at all. It takes a real life connection to the animal and what it is giving you to go and hunt it yourself (humanely) – a celebration of the life cycle if you will. I have no problem with others’ decision to eat meat, my wish is that more people would consider your way of life or at the very least to choose to eat an animal that has been allowed a free life and then killed in the most humane way possible. Cheers

  • Lucy 3 years ago

    ROHAN! You are AWESOME! Thankyou for being so incredibly generous and sharing your wisdom and beautiful images with our readers :)

    We feel so lucky to have had you on the TDF Guest Blog! It’s been the most popular Guest Blog ever! Thankyou thankyou thankyou! I wanna come over to your place for dinner one day… :)

  • Carla Grbac 3 years ago

    Rohan, you reminded me of how excited I get when stone fruit season is upon us. There is nothing like waiting from that call from trusty family friend to come and take our pick from their apricot tree. The pretty ones I use in almond tarts, and the others get stewed with sugar for jam. We call it liquid gold. There is nothing like growing up with the garden full of lush green tomato plants at the beginning of summer, full of green fruit. I get so disheartened seeing strawberries on supermarket shelves throughout the year, and cherries in the middle of winter flown in from other parts of the world. I caught it late in the act, but thanks for your lovely posts and great photographs!

  • sarah 3 years ago

    many thanks for the most encouraging/inspiring/lovely week..
    grats! x

  • Rohan 3 years ago

    Well next time your heading up this way….you have my number!

  • michele morcos 3 years ago

    Oh thank you rohan, lucy and jenny for bringing such a lovely series of guest posts this week. It was so great to be introduced to you Rohan and all your amazing images, insights and adventures… Made me wish for long lazy evenings in the country with good food, and the time with which to enjoy it! Great to have a guys perspective too… thanks again! michelex

  • Jess 3 years ago

    Thanks for for this post – caught it a little late, but it’s fantastic. I choose vego for that reason – I couldn’t kill a chicken! But I really admire people who go beyond the supermarket shelf, can humanely kill their own meat and understand where it comes from. Now I’m off to catch the rest of your posts from last week…

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