Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hunting and Local Cuisine

My colleague Anthony raises an intriguing issue. The issue of hunting and meat consumption has spawned some interesting perspectives.

Consider "The Oil We Eat: Following the Food Chain Back to Iraq" by Richard Manning and published in Harpers Magazine a few years back. Manning presents a thought provoking analysis of our oil-based food supply, criticizing everything from our nitrogen-hungry corn production, to our heavily processed and packaged foods, to the distance our food travels. He concludes with the following description of shooting an elk:
I used a rifle to opt out of an insane system. I killed, but then so did you when you bought that package of burger, even when you bought that package of tofu burger. I killed, then the rest of those elk went on, as did the grasses, the birds, the trees, the coyotes, mountain lions, and bugs, the fundamental productivity of an intact natural system, all of it went on.
This article follows one of the themes of Manning's book, Against the Grain, How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization.

Similarly, Michael Pollan shoots a wild pig as he explores "The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals."

Surely hunting provides a connection to one's food and its source in a very real way.

To complicate things further, however, hunting may provide an immediate food source, yet it may well not be local. We seem to find a way to link transportation to everything we eat. Hunting may involve as long a distance as those mid-winter citrus fruits sold in Minnesota. Check out World Class Outdoors for a hint at the possibilities! And, to raise one more interesting thing about it all - how do you suppose that we came to treasure large antlers instead of the meat?