Naked Omnivore

Today is round two of making jerky. Yesterday I experimented with lean, ground beef with good results. There were only a few changes needed, a bit more seasonings, and a little less salt for my taste. So, yesterday afternoon, I ground up a kilogram of deer meat and then added the seasoning so that it could sit overnight in the refrigerator for this morning’s session of making the mixture into jerky.

All of this was in response to my children’s request for jerky, deer jerky in particular. It has been a few years since my last attempt, so I took my time to hopefully make it just right. If all turns out well, there will be a lot more jerky made during the autumn, especially if one of my grandsons gets another deer during hunting season.

In this age of many moving to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, and with my having become a Buddhist, I wonder why meat has remained such a significant part of my diet. And by significant, I mean in importance, not in quantity. After all, shouldn’t I be more environmentally conscious and respectful of all life? Well, the truth is, I am very respectful for all life forms. Like my First Nations ancestors, I know that I eat meat as a gift from both the animal whose life was sacrificed, and the universe which provided the animal with life. I don’t take meat for granted whether it is pork, beef, venison, fish, or any other life form that finds its way onto my plate.

Am I rationalising? I don’t think so. I grew up very poor when meat made rare appearances on our plates. My family had abandoned its rural roots and never did quite fit into urban life regardless of two generations of effort. When I did learn about hunting as a teenager, it was always about the meat, not the sport. And that, is a philosophy I carried with me throughout the years as I provided for my own family. Now, I only hunt with my camera and leave the hunting for meat to my grandchildren.

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