What did you think about the last time you walked into a grocery store? Oh, buy one get one free? What am I going to have for dinner tonight? Is there gluten in this? Is it Paleo? At any point did you ever consider what your food really is? The fact that it isn’t self-evident that food is really an animal, a plant, or some combination of the two, something that lived and died in this world, and only after a multitude of steps and many changings of hands became what we call food, is an indictment of our modern industrial food system. The distance between us and our food, really the animals and plants that we eat, has never been greater. But maybe you aren’t so blissfully unaware. Perhaps you seek out only the best animals and plants. Maybe you know your farmer or order grass-fed beef from a trusted source. But yet this, too, is often an intellectual exercise, an abstraction of what we think our food is or, in most cases, isn’t. Often times the dirty, messy, smelly business of taking that animal’s life, butchering its carcass, and turning it into food is still left to strangers many, many miles away.
Enter the hunter. Forget the redneck or hillbilly stereotypes and imagine for a moment what hunting actually involves. Preceded by weeks or months of preparation, you leave the comfort of your home and enter the wild. Your breath is hushed, your movements careful—even your scent is disguised. Tracking your prey, you in a sense become your prey, thinking like a deer, turkey, or bear. And maybe the careful preparation combines with luck and you catch a glimpse of your quarry. A mix of nervousness and excitement rises in your chest; and, struggling to still your shaking hands, you raise your weapon, preparing to end the life of a creature who all at once inspires desire, admiration, and guilt—all this before a single shot has been taken.
Author, adventurer, and hunter Steve Rinella has been exploring the complexities of hunting for decades, and his work has been featured in Outside magazine, the New York Times, and numerous other publications. His books have chronicled his own personal relationship to hunting, the history of the buffalo, and epic wild game feasts. He has won awards for food and travel writing, and currently hosts “Meat Eater,” a weekly half-hour television series that airs on the Sportsman channel. On today’s episode of Paleo Magazine Radio, Steve and Tony discuss the role of hunting in an era of convenience, and we find out why he doesn’t argue with vegetarians.
In the second half of the show, The Domestic Man, Russ Crandall, stops by to talk about cast iron and why this ancient cooking implement still has a place in your modern kitchen.
CLICK HERE for full transcript of the show
Books by our guests
Featured image credit: John Hafner Outdoors