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.