by Marion Nestle
Nov 22 2013

Weekend reading: Deer Hunting in Paris (Maine, that is)

Paula Young Lee.  Deer Hunting in Paris: A Memoir of God, Guns, and Game Meat.  How a Preacher’s Daughter Refuses to Get Married, Travels the World, and Learns to Shoot.  Solas House, 2013.

The topic of this cross-cultural memoir—game hunting—would not ordinarily interest me but once I starting flipping through its pages I found myself reading it cover to cover.  For one thing, Paula Lee sounds like someone anyone would enjoy having as a friend. She’s easy to be with as she tells the story of her Korean-American background as a Maine preacher’s daughter, and her partnership with a stuffy but warm-sounding guy in Wellesley, Massachusetts who spends every free moment hunting on his family’s property in Maine.  Paula, a trained chef,* cooks what they shoot.    She also casts an affectionate eye on the backwoods hunting culture.  I can’t say it’s a culture I’d care to adopt (I’m not much for killing animals and Maine winters are cold), but I was fascinated to learn about it from a companion who writes well and tells a good story.

*Addition: Paula informs me that she is not, in fact, a trained chef.  She “just cooks” [I’d say she writes about food like a trained chef].  She says she “started out as an academic historian, migrated into the cultural history of meat via a study of slaughterhouses…and am now mostly a food writer focusing on wild meat.”


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  • pawpaw

    Sounds like a book worth reading, as we’ve 5 deer in the freezer. Skunk meat is surprisingly good, and snapping turtle does have a range of meat textures and tastes. Each has its challenges to kill and clean. Despite these adventures, doesn’t hold a candle to the variety of meats we ate while in Korea. Even while in Norway, natives there felt pity for us, that we’d neglected much European heritage of blood sausage, most organ meats, fermented meats, heads, etc. Lot’s of food exploration worth (re)discovering. As my wife says, when hunger was more common among rural folk, we were much more creative.