Whitetail Hunting photo

Chances are good that your grandmother owned a copy of the Household Searchlight Recipe Book, which was first published in 1931 and was printed continuously, I believe, into the 1980s.

The Searchlight, as it was known to home cooks, was made up of recipes submitted by readers of Household magazine. According to the book’s forward “One thousand questionnaires were sent to readers of Household who were known to be especially interested in food preparation…each recipe was tested for accuracy, dependability, palatability, and balance of readily obtainable and economical ingredients…In war or peace homemakers may rely implicitly on every recipe published under the auspices of Household.”

I inherited my Grandma Draper’s copy, a 25th edition copyrighted in 1955, and refer to it on occasion, mostly for nostalgia’s sake, but it’s also a valuable reference when I want to prepare things like buttermilk biscuits or Boston baked beans. Like any good general interest cookbook published before about 1975, The Searchlight includes a small section on cooking game meats. It was here I turned when searching out a recipe for that holiday centerpiece – saddle of venison. Should you also need some instruction on cooking this classic cut, here’s a submission from Mrs. Beulah Canterbury from Canton, Ohio.

Saddle of Venison
Wipe a 4-pound saddle of venison with damp cloth. Tie or skewer in a roll. Rub 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper into meat. Lay saddle in roasting pan. Pour 1 tablespoon hot fat over it. Add 2 tablespoons water. Roast in hot oven (425° F.) 45 minutes. Turn, and baste frequently with broth. Remove from oven. Place on platter. Surround with tables of wild rice. Skim fat from broth. Strain over venison. Serve with currant jelly. Venison steaks are broiled the same as porter-house steak. They may be served with butter and melted currant jelly.