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Field to Fork: A Walk on the Wild Side

Hi, my name is Keith and I am home cook from Edinburgh with a passion for sustainble produce. I was asked to write this article in 2019 as the publishers were interested to hear from someone who is not a hunter or a shooter and via the realms of social media, they saw my passion for wild game produce and were keen to know more.

(The following article was originally published in Hunt Magazine in 2019 and has been reposted within this page for others to enjoy).

Wild game cooking is normal in the shooting and hunting community but is somewhat unknown to the general public – that is unfair on the public. Is it because we live in an era where we, as a society, want it all and we want it now? Consumed by the silicon obsession, we can easily forget to stop and appreciate the world around us and in a way, we lose sight of the simplest of things. For me, losing sight and traceability of the food I eat and provide for my family really bothered me and as I approached my mid-thirties, I found myself bored and disconnected with the food I was eating. For me, living a sustainable lifestyle means providing my family with ethically sourced, sustainable wild game produce but it doesn’t stop there. I also want to share my passion and show others just how easy it is to make delicious family friendly meals using game produce.

As a parent I am concerned for my children’s knowledge of where food comes from and I can only encourage them to form their own opinions by showing them options. They can eat produce from a supermarket without really knowing where it came from or they can learn that the food I provide is sustainably sourced and has lived a wild and free existence. The choice is ultimately theirs but to make wild game cooking more commonplace, I believe the key is education. I take great pride in knowing exactly where my food has come from and eating sustainably sourced produce plays a small, but vital, part in reducing my carbon footprint. Another reason that I cook with game meat, aside from the flavour, are the health benefits associated with it and because it is rich in protein and low in fat, I know that my family are consuming truly healthy meals.  In addition to all this,we grow our own vegetables and I keep quail for their eggs and occasionally meat, again this all plays a part in my children’s relationship with where

their food comes from. As I prepare my family meal, I can pass on the knowledge and reasoning to my children, so they have a clear understanding of what I do and why I do it.

So where do I go from here? I cook for my family and I do my part to reduce my footprint but what else can I do to promote the use of wild game? In February 2019, I launched the Field To Fork Food pages across social media in a bid to demonstrate just how easy it is to source and cook with wild game. Living in Scotland there is an abundance of game living in our countryside and it is the same across the world, you just need to know where to find it. Now due to work and family commitments I do not get to stalk as much

as I would like, so I tend to rely on my local butcher or game dealer to provide the likes of wild boar, venison and pigeon as well as seasonal produce like grouse, partridge and pheasant. I tend to obtain my game in fur and feather because I take pride in seeing the whole process through from beginning to end but it also lets me reconnect with my food. If skinning and butchering is not for you, fear not as a lot of game produce is affordable and can come prepared, ready for the oven.

As I mentioned earlier, I honestly believe the key to get others to cook with game produce is through education. At one point in our lives we have all had to learn something for the first time and if I can produce easy back to basic recipes that people can follow and try for themselves, then half the battle is won. The next step is for that person to tell their friend, family or co-worker just how tasty their meal was, and they cooked with wild game, now wouldn’t that be something? If those in the hunting and shooting community, in addition to chefs and home cooks like myself, are able to encourage others to do the same, then wild game cooking would no longer be a niche pastime, favoured by the minority.

If we really want to make a difference to our planet and start making small changes towards living a sustainable lifestyle, then wild game cooking is an easy way to start. I hope that this resonates with others and in doing so, people do their part to promote, what I consider, the best sustainable produce there is.