- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 31, 2003

“Animal Rights Group Promotes Vegetarianism as the Way to Salvation” said a headline in a recent hunters’ advocate newsletter, then continued with “The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] has a new anti-meat campaign that instructs people to go vegetarian and be saved.”

I’m sure the report is accurate because decent animal-rights activists shouldn’t want to eat the very critters they claim to love so much, should they? I do, however, suspect that more than one of the Bambi huggers likes a juicy, medium-rare steak as long as somebody else does the butchering and slaps the meat on a hot grill for them.

By the way, I know something about going vegetarian, but it has nothing to do with being saved in the nutritional or religious sense.

Some weeks ago it occurred to me that 26-ounce porterhouse steaks (my favorite size) might be a little too large even for a large person such as myself, so I made a promise that I’d start eating more vegetables than ever before and severely cut down on the weight of the steaks.

I began to have more sliced tomatoes and green salads than ever before. My plate runneth over with green beans, peas, carrots and limas. The portions of beef, lamb or chicken I had were small enough to hide in a tooth cavity. I was as close to becoming a true vegan — as the animal religionists like to say — as you can get.

It was wonderful.

Not!

My brush with vegetarianism had a gigantic drawback. I was never completely sated. Like the old joke about Chinese food, 10 minutes after every fiber-filled, healthy meal, I could have started all over again.

Then my neighbor, Doc, ruined the entire vegan exercise when he called to relay an event of the afternoon.

“You know the area where your [deer] stand is located,” he asked. “Well, I was bush-hogging some of the tall weeds in the field in front of it when a large buck with a 10- or 12-point rack got up and took off. I was flabbergasted at the sight of that beautiful deer and thought that maybe we ought to keep him around for breeding stock. But seconds after he disappeared, a much larger buck than the first one showed up and he, too, trotted off into the woods. My Lord, that second one was huge — way over 200 pounds, I’d say, and with antlers so big it made the other one’s look small.”

That was it. My vegan days had ended. After Doc’s account of a potential Boone & Crockett record book-suitable deer, I became so ravenous for venison I could hardly stand it.

Let’s face it, folks. Humans aren’t purely vegetarians, nor are they only carnivores. We’re omnivores. We like a nice piece of meat with our vegetables.

So I thawed out one of the last remaining venison backstraps from a deer that was bagged last year. I used a Ted Nugent recipe that he says came from Germany — and Germans, you should know, are big on venison dishes. He says to cut the backstrap into strips, salt and pepper the meat, saute it in a lightly oiled pan for five minutes. Then remove the venison and set it aside. I did all that. Following his instructions, I next placed a half dozen sliced, small white mushrooms into the pan along with a finely sliced onion and let that cook for three minutes, then added 12 ounces of heavy whipping cream and let the ‘shrooms, onion and cream cook for another five minutes. I added a couple of small, finely sliced pickles (yes, pickles), two peeled, diced tomatoes, a dollop of mustard and butter. Now Nugent’s sauce was completed and was poured over the strips of venison backstrap. Fantastic!

I’m back, friends. I’m back among the living.

The next time you see an animal-rights advocate demonstrating against hunters, looking all grumpy and scornful, it’s because he or she has never had Ted’s Venison in Cream Sauce. Poor souls.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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