Most of you know the old saying: “Feed a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will never go hungry.” Or something like that. I feel I have come to this point with Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. Since I started this website in 2007, I’ve posted more than 700 recipes for everything from wild ducks and geese to venison to pheasants, turtles, sharks, smelt, crabs, octopus — you name it. And that’s just the animal protein. I have hundreds of recipes for foraged plants and mushrooms, too. Enough recipes to cook over a lifetime.
And frankly, I am getting a bit bored with it. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been getting snowblind lately from the blizzard of “latest recipes” I see all over the internet. What began in the 2000s as a sharing of treasured — and tested — recipes has since become an industry. An industry geared toward getting you to click on whichever website is offering said recipe. Oh, and I should mention that very few of those recipes have actually been tested. (Mine are.) Almost all of us in the food blogging world have ridden the recipe treadmill at one point or another, because more eyes on a site means more money from ads. Which means that I might someday make enough money to retire my 16-year-old pickup.
Then, one day, I thought about it, and realized I like my pickup. And so I decided to step off the habitrail of Search Engine Optimization and make HAGC more than just a recipe database.
I started the Hunt Gather Talk podcast, and I like doing this very much. I am also writing more personal essays about the wild world. But these fall largely, although not entirely, into the realm of “interesting things to read or listen to, but which won’t help me cook this wild turkey.” Offline, I’ve also been spending a lot more time developing recipes, making them over and over before posting, so that when I do post a straight-up recipe, it is as bullet-proof as I can make it. But some part of my new equation was still missing.
And that something is technique.
Teaching someone how to cook a duck breast, or why venison fat isn’t always nasty, not only interests me more than, say, a recipe for chicken fried venison, but it’s also more useful for you, the reader. And beyond cooking techniques, serious, researched articles on topics such as why wild ginger isn’t going to kill you add something to our collective knowledge of wild foods.
So that’s where I intend to take HAGC. Sure, I’ll still post recipes, when they really float my boat. But I want to give you something more. But that something more takes time, as I work through experiments and do the proper research on this thing or that. So bear with me. Good things are coming…