I’ve been following Jenny Nguyen and Rick Wheatley for several years through their blog Food For Hunters. The couple always had some inspired recipes to try out, and when they moved from California to Nebraska it was fun to see them adapt to all of the hunting opportunities my state has to offer. Now they have come out with a new book, Hunting For Food: Guide to Harvesting, Field Dressing and Cooking Wild Game.
As the title suggests, this is much more than a cookbook, and, in fact, there are just a couple recipes for each species covered in the book. Instead, Hunting For Food is more of a how-to guide, providing on overview of popular species, along with some general information on hunting each. The meat of the book is really the field-dressing portion, and the authors do a great job detailing the steps to cleaning game, complete with illustrative photos. A new hunter who’s never field-dressed a deer would do a fine job of it by following the couple’s instructions. Same goes for the rest of the animals covered (which includes frogs and turtles, in addition to all the standard birds and small-game animals, as well as hogs and deer).
Experienced hunters might find a lot of the hunting info lacking, as the scope of the book really targets those just starting in our sport. However, the authors’ backgrounds shine through in the recipes, which range from Ecuadorian Roasted Wild Boar Leg to an Irish-themed Coney Coddle for cottontails. Of the recipes included, I’m most anxious to try the Persian-Style Venison Shanks, which amp up my favorite venison cut with the amazing flavors of saffron, cardamom, and cinnamon. This, combined with the information on best cooking methods for each species and cut, is enough to make it a handy reference guide for the kitchen.