COLUMN: ‘Better Venison,’ with Wolfgang Buck

This is my Sunday column for the Nov. 18, 2012 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune. A fully-realized performance of this piece aired on Northern Community Radio’s “Between You and Me” yesterday.

‘Better Venison,’ with Wolfgang Buck
By Aaron J. Brown

With deer hunting rifle season wrapping up this weekend, people across northern Minnesota are left wondering what to do with freezers full of venison. For many in today’s foodie culture, the old standards of jerky and sausage just won’t do. That’s why today I’m welcoming a special guest, famed chef and 18-point trophy stag Wolfgang Buck. Welcome, Chef Buck!

(Sounds of skittering hooves on clean linoleum kitchen floor, deer body bumping into cupboards).

Well, Chef Buck, we’re here to cook the perfect autumn meal. Let’s begin with the side dishes. First, you have your specialty, corn bread. How do we begin?

(Sounds of deer hooves pounding on marble countertop, sliding askew, knocking over metal mixing bowls and disrupting dishes full of ingredients).

I see, and how long do we bake this?

(Sounds of deer attempting to run on clean linoleum kitchen floor, slipping, falling, getting up, slipping, falling, more of this, followed by a loud crash as the deer collapses into a decorative photo arrangement near the refrigerator).

About 30 minutes? Great. We started a loaf earlier, so here’s what this looks like. Very impressive! But we’re not done. We still need to throw together a batch of your award-winning garlic mashed potatoes, right Chef Buck?

(Sounds of deer flinging self into pantry, crushing foodstuff with frantic hoof movements, flailing about with a potato sack hooked onto antlers, then attempting to run on clean linoleum kitchen floor, slipping, falling, getting up and whipping potato sack onto countertop with thud).

So, do we cut and boil these potatoes first?

(Sounds of deer violently pounding potato sack with hooves, back hooves slipping on clean linoleum kitchen floor).

Oh, wow. So you do this right here, before cooking the potatoes? Is that your secret?

(More thuds, hoof motions; continues for a time).

And how do we cook these?

(Sounds of deer flinging mangled, crushed potato sack onto open gas stove burner).

Right on the burner, then, huh? Quite an odor coming off that burlap. Well, once again we’ve whipped up a batch beforehand and you can see that these mashed potatoes will go quite well with our corn bread. Of course, now it’s time for the main course. Chef Buck wasn’t told this beforehand, but we’re going to ask him now his recommended recipe for cooking the finest gourmet meal out of this year’s supply of venison strips from the hunting shack.

(Eerie sound of screaming deer. Stomping hooves. Sounds of deer hooves slipping on clean linoleum kitchen floor. More eerie deer screams. More stomping).

Chef Buck, I thought you knew. This is the natural order. Your population needs management. Venison is delicious. Wait, Chef Buck. If you don’t calm down I’ll have to use this rifle. Stand back! Stand back!

(Sounds of struggle. Gunshot. Rifle cock. Gunshot. Rifle cock. Gunshot. Long pause. Sounds of deer hooves slipping on clean linoleum kitchen floor. Door opens, closes. Sounds of hooves on open field. Kitchen timer dings).

Aaron J. Brown is an author and college instructor from the Iron Range. He writes MinnesotaBrown.com and hosts 91.7 KAXE’s Great Northern Radio Show on public stations. The next show will be Saturday, Dec. 15 in Bigfork, Minnesota.

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