I received an email this past June from Georgia Pellegrini asking me to review a book called Girl Hunter and since I am a newbie outdoor blogger, I didn't realize this is how reviews are arranged. I disregarded the email as an elaborate attempt to get my address (because we all know that is really valuable information, ha, ha). Then in November, I came to my senses and researched who Georgia Pellegrini really is. Turns out she has a wonderful Blog that makes my site look like a toddler put it together. I decided to send an apologetic message to Georgia asking if the opportunity to review her book was still available. She responded that same afternoon to let me know that a book was on the way, but I would need to read fast since I was late to the game!
Once the book arrived, I dove right in and was hooked by the stories. Georgia worked on Wall Street as an analyst, but after determining that finance was not the her path, she studied and graduated from a French culinary school. As she worked in the food industry, her desire to know more about where our food comes from evolved into a quest to learn about hunting. This book takes you along for the ride as she chronicles that journey. The stories are punctuated with colorful characters and Georgia's descriptions of them and their mannerisms paint a vivid picture. There is a wide variety of game Georgia pursues not to mention all the locations as she journeys through multiple states as well as across the big pond to England.
There was really very little that I didn't like about the book. There was a miss characterization that I took issue with. Georgia stated that in Texas, there is relatively little public land and few hunting leases that require less than ten thousand dollars per gun. As a Texan, I can assure you that there really are many public hunting opportunities and lower cost lease options here in Texas. This was a small point at the conclusion of one chapter and is really just me being nit picky.
I like the fact that Georgia was not afraid to write about the unsuccessful hunts. It is very easy to elaborate on the outings that end with a bird in the hand instead of in the bush, but this book begins the journey with an unsuccessful turkey hunt that made me smile and laugh out loud! I enjoyed reading about her hunting experiences as she relays the joys and sorrows of the process as a new hunter. A perspective that will have you remembering your early experiences in the field. She also relays a contagious excitement about, not only the hunt, but the meal that the hunt makes possible. As a bonus at the end of each chapter are several recipes pertaining to the game that was the subject of the chapter. These recipes all look delicious and are definitely not "run of the mill"!
Trying Out Recipes
I couldn't do the book review without trying a few of the recipes. I have not been trained at a French cooking school so I started with what appeared to be an "entry level" dish, Fried Venison Back-strap. I was able to complete the dish and it turned out great. Her instructions were clear and the result was awesome!
For my second attempt, I turned it up a notch and chose Axis Venison Loaf. I had one strike against me since I didn't have any Axis meat, but I did have deer burger. My first attempt failed miserably because I didn't know the difference between a food processor and a blender. My wooden spoon paid for my lack of knowledge with its life. The second attempt (after I procured a small food processor) was much better. The result was a meatloaf that had a unique flavor that I haven't encounter before and it will definitely be added to my usual rotation of wild game dishes.
|My Failed First Attempt|
|Successful Second Attempt|
I would recommend this book because it feels authentic. Georgia doesn't attempt to portray herself as an expert hunter. Instead she tells it like it is. She is an talented chef who is learning to hunt. You will enjoy reading about her experiences that likely parallel all of our journeys as outdoors-men and outdoors-women, examining what hunting is really about, and picking up some excellent recipes along the way. I have come away from this book with a new excitement in broadening my own culinary experiences regarding wild game. Buttermilk Fried Rabbit, Squirrel Dumplings, and Quail Kebabs here I come!
Thanks Georgia, it was a good read!