Wild Game Cooking Sparks Interest in the Outdoors
“Wild foods – both veggies and game – incite culinary interest in a diverse group of non-hunters.
To introduce new audiences into the outdoor community, the NWTF partnered with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and City Market, Onion River Co-Op in Burlington to co-host a “how-to” wild-game cooking event at City Market’s Flynn Avenue location.
“In many ways, food is at the center of our passion for hunting,” said Matt DiBona, NWTF New England district biologist. “When we are successful, wild game is something we can share with our family and friends. There is tremendous satisfaction in cooking something that our hands helped bring from the field to the table. We are glad to share that experience with others at events like this.”
The event was held in City Market’s Teaching Kitchen, which hosts a wide variety of culinary classes to teach and introduce people to new experiences; this wild-game event is one of many unique events held at the location.
The event started with introductions and attendees highlighting their experiences with wild-game cuisine. Some had wild game with friends and relatives, while others have never had it at all. Nonetheless, none of those that signed up for the event had previous hunting experience, and the idea of procuring new and sustainable ingredients sparked interest for all at the event.
Doug, one of the event attendees, said it seemed like an interesting class.
“My partner and I are slowly getting into foraging and fishing and trying to be a bit more self-sustainable, and so I think having the motivation to be able to cook delicious food from what you forage or hunt or fish seemed pretty good, so that’s why we took the class,” he said.
NWTF staff were also able to discuss the integral role between hunting and wildlife conservation, which, too, elicited interest and follow-up questions.
John Gonter, a VTFW volunteer, led the class and was a resource for those cooking with wild game for the first time. He highlighted how smaller game species – like dove, pheasant and waterfowl – are good introductions for those just beginning to learn to hunt, as they don’t require as much know-how to process and to turn into a delicious meal. He went on to explain how the daily life of gamebirds separates the flavor from their farm-raised counterparts and how to reconcile that in the kitchen.
Low and slow, he said. “Or, for time’s sake, as we’ll do tonight, a pressure cooker comes in handy too.”
In addition to being a talented cook, Gonter understands the importance of recruiting new hunters to contribute to America’s conservation story.
“I have the opportunity to share my knowledge of processing and cooking wild foods and to showcase their incredible flavors and nutrition,” Gonter said. “I look forward to future events promoting wild foods and the opportunity to generate curiosity and enthusiasm with the public.”
The full article from the National Wild Turkey Federation can be found here.
Photo Credit: Original Author