The Wild Things
It’s hunting season. I haven’t realized that it’s time, only when I’ve faced the signs around the forest we go regularly walking to. „Hunting”. Then I’ve heard a few shots fired far away. …Bang, Bang… On the way home some very old memories popped into my mind. I haven’t thought about them in years.
I was about 6 years old, when I went on my first and so far the last hunting. My uncle and his whole family were big on hunting. It run in the family, kind of a tradition passed down from father to son. I remember the excitement of the hounds, the sound of the barking and restlessness, knowing exactly that the chase was coming. I remember the smell of the woods, the rotten leaves on the ground. I remember hearing the shots being fired, that same old sound that I’ve just heard now.
My uncle only went for rabbits, mallards and pheasants, and he always brought it all back to my grandmother. They were then hanged on the terrace for a couple of days before grandma prepared them. I actually don’t remember ever eating any wild meat as a child. I was very picky, and didn’t like to eat meat very much, but I do remember one thing very clearly like it was yesterday: sitting next to the prey, brushing through their fur and feather being amazed how soft they are.
For a few years now I fantasize about spending a long weekend in the woods in a hunter style cabin. It just seems like a very relaxing idea. Not doing much, just taking long walks in the woods, collecting wild mushrooms and berries, roasting chestnut by open fire, and in the evening sitting at the fireplace wrapped up in thick blanket. That, I wouldn’t mind doing one day. The hunting itself doesn’t excite me much, I’m more drawn to the “back to the nature” feeling.
When it comes to wild meat, I prefer venison, or wild boar. Their meat has a very unique taste, and goes perfectly with red wine. I usually cook up a ragout or stew, a very filling, 100% cold weather proof meal. I would even say a manly meal. For some reason, I also associate chestnut with hunting season. So for me, chestnut and wild meat are a perfect match. But since I’m the only one in the family who loves chestnut in salty meals, I’m sort of always forced to make a dessert. A chestnut-chocolate fondant never disappoints, and serves as a perfect ending to a true hunter style meal.