Thursday, January 03, 2008

Veggie Burgers Better Be Tasty

I called my parents to wish them a happy new year, and it turns out my brother Ryan and his family made a surprise visit from Montana to see them for the holiday. My mom was thrilled because Ryan brought her lots of meat--from the elk he killed out hunting.

A majestic elk?
My brother made it dead?
What century is this?

My brother and I hardly talk. We are pretty much the exact polar opposite. I mean, just look: I have a blue plastic elk in a boa on my christmas tree, and he's got a dead one in the deep freeze. I really shouldn't be surprised about this, but I am.

I'm told Ryan's been hunting for years --with his Montana in-laws. Growing up as kids, we both had a bow and arrows (the Archers!) and shot at targets in the woods, but never at real animals. We never killed anything.

What's he now? A hunter? A real man's man? I expect this type of gory entertainment from my less-educated good ole boy cousins, but not him. When my mother gloats about the fresh meat she obtained from Ryan's kill, I stop her.

Jesse: "He killed an elk? Don't you find that disturbing?"
Mom: "No."
Jesse: "I do. I find that very disturbing."
Mom: "I'm sure your brother finds some of the things you do very disturbing."

Oh no she didn't.

Jesse: "Well I don't kill things!"
Mom: (snidely) "So what are you having for dinner ...vegetarian?"


She speaks to me like I'm a "city boy" snob, but I have no leg to stand on. I eat meat all the time, I've even eaten elk before. I rarely consider where it comes from. It's packaged up into pretty pink grounds, rounds and patties that conspire to widen the disconnect between eating flesh and comprehending it came from an actual living creature.

If we're going to eat meat we really should be able to face pulling the trigger. To kill it, gut it, slice it up and cook it. I never thought I'd say this, but as long as I shudder at the thought of a wild elk in the crosshairs of my brother's rifle, I'm giving up red meat.


Tony said...

Jesse -

This entry was especially delicious because when I read it, the click-thru ad in the corner was for Venison from Underhill Farms. They offer meat from domestically raised deer AND ELK!
But you can also order fruit pies from them ... the mind reels ... (they mean apple, strawberry, etc.). They claim that you can order any type of custom-made pie - so to ease your conscience, what about a nice tofu pie?

Anonymous said...

Well Jesse,

You are not alone in the fact of not thinking about where your food actually comes from. Many people don't. It isn't grown in the back room of the grocery store!

My question is, is it better to eat flesh that has been taken by the hands of another, or by your own?

Good luck with the veggies and veggie burgers. They tend to not run away. And you probably won't need your bow and arrow. Meanwhile, I'll be having a steak, and kudos to your brother!

Be well.

Bob said...

I'm all for hunting as long as the hunter eats the kill.

I'm all for fishing too with the same proviso.

Anonymous said...

I can't claim to be a vegetarian either. However I do boycot veal - the evil meat. For those not familiar with the process, veal is obtained by removing a calf from its mother, chaining it in a pen so it cannot move (sometimes their legs are broken) and pumping it with steriods.
Chose free-ranch chicken whenever possible!

The Hunter said...

Ah . . . I knew this story was "blog-worthy." I must say, the post and comments are well said. But hunting should not be classified as "gory entertainment." Indeed, anyone who is familiar with Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" would likely prefer an organic elk steak to pre-packaged slaughterhouse patties. Instead, hunting is a way of life that teaches you to appreciate the food you eat and the animal that provided it -- especially when it's zero degrees on a high mountain ridge.

In the end I would rather know where my meat comes from and be more self sufficient, rather than relying on the pre-packaged hormone enhanced products on the grocery shelves that aren't as healthy for my kids. Pulling the trigger is not an easy thing . . . but to my thinking, living more sustainably never is.

Cheers from the Big Sky.

Anonymous said...

No red meat but white meat is OK...sounds racist to me. 'Tis better to chop the head off a chicken than to shoot an elk? Because one's noble and the other isn't? Your diet may be fine, but your head needs examined.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you stir all this controversy up, and then remeain silent for three whole days!!! ;-)

Jesse Archer said...

Some follow-up:

-I am surprised my brother knows about this blog, and happy he has contributed.

-I'm totally going hunting with him (not shooting) at some point.

-I accidentally ate pepperoni pizza lastnight and didn't realize it til this morning.

-Yes, I am racist against chickens. Or maybe I'm just taking baby steps.

-I'm going to stop posting about hunting because that little adsense ad keeps advertising guaranteed elk kill hunts.

Anonymous said...

does the hunter have a blog?

-the huntress

tyson said...

I have a cousin named Ryan Archer that grew up in a trailer and probably hunts elk...

Did you grow up in a trailer? Are we related?