Today, I’m talking about venison. I’m not talking about the weather (yep, yep it’s cold), and I’m not talking about Chris Kluwe
‘s flailing for attention. I’m talking about the preparation of deer flesh for consumption.
Deer flesh is a personal favorite of mine, yet I’d never prepared a meal with it before this weekend. It’s difficult to find in a butcher shop, and that primal desire to “hunt” was lost on me – I just don’t appreciate sitting drunk in a tree stand covered in deer piss the way the cavemen did. I’m no good with a gun, anyway. I had a brilliant 12-month stretch in which I killed two deer with a car, but I’m no good with a gun. My father shot a large deer this winter, and I pestered my way into a few pounds of his kill. That’s how I “hunt.”
Unrelated: I’m reading Nick Offerman’s book, “Paddle Your Own Canoe.” It started off as “terrible,” gradually ascended to “bad,” and has since settled into “what do you expect, an actor penned it.”
I cooked my deer flesh as the first round of the NFL playoffs wrapped up on Sunday. With no television, I streamed the games on my computer through a British TV station. My first pound of ground venison was tossed into a skillet as Cincinnati and San Diego kicked off.
I was whipping up a pasta dish with portobello mushroom sauce (from a jar) and orzo pasta (from a bag). Orzo is an unseemly pasta – it looks like Rice Krispies – but it was in a gift package and I don’t like to waste food.
I’ll spare you the step-by-step. If you can read, I’ll presume you’re competent to prepare pasta from jars and bags.
I should note, by preparing it as a traditional pasta, I misused orzo. It’s used for salads and soups, according to my 7 seconds on Google, but you won’t see me use it again. Aside from its parasitic appearance, the tiny noodles swim around your teeth like pesky minnows and cleaning them up in the kitchen’s a nightmare. Have you ever taken a crazy girl home from the club, and three months later you were still waking up with her glitter on your face? That’s basically orzo.
On the field, the Chargers-Bengals game played out like a well-drawn cartoon. I watched balls get thrown out of the stadium and over the Ohio river (slight exaggeration) and running backs dance their way backwards (not an exaggeration), tugging at my sideburns or stroking my neck whiskers throughout. I can take a lot of punishment as a football spectator – I once sat through a 3-0 college football game LIVE – but I was so uncomfortable for so long, I yanked out a patch of my left sideburn and was forced to trim them down afterward. True story.
San Diego would emerge as not-loser, 27-10, sealing the game on a run by former Dolphin Ronnie Brown. It was a marvelous run, but he soiled it with this “bang on a vending machine while nursing an ear wound” dance routine.
That sideshow having finished, I readied for Green Bay-San Francisco. Clay Matthews, Packers linebacker and Meryl Streep look-alike, was out with a boo-boo on his thumb. Otherwise, it was a competitive game between two good teams in kind-of savage weather that lent little worth laughing about. The only comic relief was my discovery of this Moffatts scrapbook my wife tried to throw away on the sly.
Listen – simply putting it in the wastebasket does not make it irretrievable. It might if you’re “that type,” but I’m “this type” so I pulled it out for posterity. I read of the back cover aloud for her while she squirmed like a fugitive in a police net. Notice the number of times “amazing” was used on the back cover. The Moffatts were truly ahead of their time (According to his book, Mr. Offerman is also easily amazed).
Anyhow, if you don’t want me pulling something out of the trash and embarrassing you with it, you need to stick it in something gross.
During halftime of the good game, I smushed the remaining deer flesh into slider patties and plopped Swiss cheese and eggs on top. The portable cooking surface I used was cool because it felt like I was grilling in my kitchen, but stunk because it was 1 percent as non-stick as advertised. The eggs had to be chipped off the surface like scabs, and looked equally pleasant when taken off. My wife insisted they tasted good, but I think she was playing easy-to-please.
The 49ers beat the Packers, 23-20. According to my Facebook feed, the officiating crew ran out with the Packers and called everything in Green Bay’s favor. I didn’t see it, but the Packers lost so I suppose I didn’t have to.
My deer flesh preparation needs work.