Archive for November, 2011

French Chef Talks Game and Real Food

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

If you watch PBS television cooking shows, you’ve probably seen this man:

02— My name is Jacques Pepin.

Seventy-five year old Jacques Pepin is a classically trained French chef, author, and PBS cooking show host. Long before he started cooking with meat from domesticated livestock, natural, additive free wild game comprised the animal protein in his dishes.

08— We follow the season, and the season in the fall in France we have the rabbit and the pheasant and the stuff. You go to market and see the game hanging.

Jacques Pepin has a new series on PBS called Essential Pepin, with a companion book that includes a 3 hour DVD featuring various food preparation techniques; it was going to include how to dress a rabbit after harvest.

12—But the skinning of the rabbit, they have removed it already so you’re not going to see it. And I knew it. They got berserk when they saw it. They said, ‘Oh my God!’ Well, it’s good to get closer to Mother Nature and to realize where your food comes from.

It may seem gruesome, but the alternative, says Chef Pepin, is what we have: nearly two generations of people who only recognize food if it’s in neatly cut pieces and wrapped in plastic.

02—I mean, this is pretty scary when you think of it.

The Hunt Texas e-newsletter provides information on hunting and preparing wild game. Sign up for it on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Hunt, Gather, Cook

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Hank Shaw knows where his food comes from because he forages, hunts and fishes for the majority of it. Some of these skills he learned from his mother growing up on the east coast.

13— It’s always been part of our lives: Digging clams in the Atlantic, picking berries, and all that kind of stuff. It’s an awareness that there’s food all around us. I’ve always had it. And that’s really helped spur a lifelong passion.

He records his passion for wild food on his popular blog Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook, which inspired his book Hunt, Gather, Cook, published by Rodale Press. He says there’s a certain level of satisfaction with food possible only when one acquires it in the wild.

18— Think about it: on a very basic level, anybody who’s ever fished, you catch a fish and then you eat it in a frying pan on a camping trip. It tastes so much better than one that you buy at a store. And it is that satisfaction of having worked for your food…. It’s difficult to explain if you’ve never done it, but once you do it, it become addicting and you never want to stop.

Hank Shaw cooks and eats everything he forages, hunts and fishes, and shares the experience and what he’s learned on his blog and in his book.

09—I want to do justice to the things that I bring home. And I want to help people who are also hunting and fishing and foraging to cook their food better—give them new ideas.

The Hunt Texas e-newsletter provides information on hunting and preparing wild game. Sign up for it on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

The Gift of Wild Game

Monday, November 21st, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Journalist, Holly Heyser, didn’t grow up in a hunting family. She says she eventually took up the sport to spend more time with her boyfriend who is a hunter, author and chef.

13— I got sick of being alone on weekends when he was out duck hunting all day long. He would get up at two in the morning and be out forever. Well…it didn’t take that for me to join him. What it took was for him to start cooking a lot of ducks; wild ducks, especially where we live in the Sacramento Valley, are amazing. Really great food.

Holly says she gained new respect for the meat she consumes, and not just wild game, but domesticated animals as well.

33— Since I started hunting I am so much less wasteful of meat. Even if I’m at a restaurant–if there’s a burger on my plate–I will not leave one single bite of meat on my plate, because I know an animal died for that. And when it’s animals you hunt, especially, we invest a lot of time. We can spend 12 hours and a lot of money on gas to go and maybe get two ducks one day. That’s a precious gift, and you don’t waste it. So it’s really made me understand the value of the food we eat, and I appreciate it a lot more than I ever used to. The fact that it’s wild food and it’s absolutely delicious is icing on the cake.

Holly Heyser hunts and writes in Northern California, and writes a hunting blog called Nor-Cal Cazadora on blogspot.

Sign up for our Hunt Texas e-newsletter on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, and learn about hunting for and preparing wild game.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Prairie Dog Monitoring

Friday, November 18th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

08—(AMB: prairie dogs calling”)

The black-tailed prairie dog population has declined dramatically throughout its range in Texas.

09—They originally covered a large portion of the state. And we currently have somewhere around one percent of the population that was originally here in the state.

Marsha may coordinates Texas Nature Tracker programs for Texas Parks and Wildlife. You can help wildlife biologists understand this population decline by participating in the Texas black-tailed prairie dog watch. There are three ways to get involved.

19—Volunteers can get involved just monitoring a population of prairie dogs on public property. Then we have adopt-a-prairie dog colony, where folks can go out and monitor a colony wherever they find a permanent colony they’d like to research. And then the third was is the most intense, and that’s a density study.

You’ll need a monitoring packet, and can get yours online from the TPW web site, or have one mailed to you. It’s important to preserve all native species, even this chubby ground-dwelling rodent; because if prairie dogs were gone…

09—We would lose habitat for burrowing owls and food for many hawks. We would lose, also, the prairie habitat that they maintain.

That’s our show for to day… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Black-tailed Prairie Dogs

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

08—(AMB: prairie dogs calling”)

The lonesome, high-pitched staccato vocalization of the black-tailed prairie dog resonates throughout the Panhandle Plains.

09—Prairie dogs are a keystone species. A keystone species is a species that needs to be there for other species to survive.

Marsha May coordinates Texas Nature Tracker programs for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Once numbering in the millions, prairie dog colonies in Texas currently occupy less than 1-percent of their historic range. And their decline does not bode well for the other species that depend on them.

19—Prairie dog’s colonies are used by up to 170 other animals. They are directly or indirectly dependent upon the colony. And they aerate the soil; they actually keep the prairie a prairie. They will chew down any shrubs that are within the colony. So, they’re very important for that ecosystem.

Texas Black-tailed Prairie Dog Watch is a program designed to involve citizens to collect data about prairie dog colonies. Researchers use the information to understand the species’ dramatic decline. To help you help them, there’s a monitoring packet available.

08—We created this because we need to find out what’s going on with prairie dog colonies throughout the state of Texas; mainly the Panhandle and West Texas where they’re found.

And we’ll tell you how you can get involved tomorrow.

That’s our show for to day… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.