Saturday, September 02, 2006


Eating the elk meat Duane brought reminded me of my Dad.

I grew up eating the stuff. Every year my dad went out into the woods to bring home our dinner for the next year. There are 7 children in our family and my dad worked as a carpenter, spending his days raising pine two-by-fours along the edges of the Rocky Mountains. He didn't make much money as a carpenter in a small Idaho town. To make up for the slim paycheck, he had to bag an elk every year- getting that elk was a nine-mouthed necessity- (there are nine in my fam.) He also caught and brought home fish from the Snake River.

Eating the elk meat reminded me of how Dad always provided for us, was hard working and how connected he was to the land. I remember him hauling home the elk and hanging it by its legs from the back shed. It was really gross. But it didn't seem to matter when it came time to eat it. Maybe I didn't make the connection between that dead elk and the process of quartering it, taking it to the meatcutter and bringing it back wrapped in nice little packages marked: "cubed steak" "elk roast" "elk burger" "sirloin tip," and "elk round" etc.

I just knew all those white irregular-shaped packages in the freezer were what we would be eating for the rest of the year along with our huckleberries, morrell mushrooms the peppermint tea we found by the banks of the creek and the pink and white flesh of rainbow trout and brook trout.

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