What happens when a classically-trained New York chef and fearless omnivore heads out of the city and into the wild to track down the ingredients for her meals? After abandoning Wall Street to embrace her lifelong love of cooking, Georgia Pellegrini comes face to face with her first kill. From honoring that first turkey to realizing that the only way we truly know where our meat comes from is if we hunt it ourselves, Pellegrini embarks on a wild ride into the real world of local, organic, and sustainable food.
Teaming up with veteran hunters, she travels over field andstream in search of the main course—from quail to venison and wild boar, from elk to javelina and squirrel. Pellegrini’s road trip careens from the back of an ATV chasing wild hogs alongthe banks of the Mississippi to a dove hunt with beer and barbeque, to the birthplace of the Delta Blues. Along the way, she meets an array of unexpected characters—from the Commish, a venerated lifelong hunter, to the lawyer-by day, duck-hunting-Bayou-philosopher at dawn—who offer surprising lessons about food and life. Pellegrini also discovers the dangerous underbelly of hunting when an outing turns illegal—and dangerous.
More than a food-laden hunting narrative, Girl Hunter also teaches you how to be a self-sufficient eater. Each chapter offers recipes for finger-licking dishes like:
- wild turkey and oyster stew
- stuffed quail
- pheasant tagine
- venison sausage
- fundamental stocks, brines, sauces, and rubs
- suggestions for interchanging proteins within each recipe
Each dish, like each story, is an adventure from beginning to end.
An inspiring, illuminating, and often funny journey into unexplored territories of haute cuisine, Girl Hunter captures the joy of rolling up your sleeves and getting to the heart of where the food you eat comes from.
About Georgia Pellegrini
Her work has been featured on Iron Chef America, in Food and Wine Magazine, Town & Country, Shooting Sportsman, ESPN, Daily Candy, Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Radio, Gilt City, Fox, and various other magazines, TV, and radio programs. She currently roams the world hunting and gathering, tasting good food, and meeting the good people who make it.
Publishers Weekly starred review, November 21, 2011
“Many cookbook authors claim to provide start-to-finish instructions, but rare is the collection that prefaces each recipe with the story of the hunt that brought down its main ingredient. Here, before there is poached dove and pears in brandy sauce, there is a field of men in camouflage. Before there is sweet porchetta sausage, there is a bone-handled knife in a boar’s midsection. Pellegrini, despite what the cover photo implies, is not your everyday Western gal with a frying pan in one hand and a rifle in the other. Her Hudson Valley childhood, Wellesley education, brief career on Wall Street, and her cooking skills (honed at New York’s French Culinary Institute), all inform her writing to create prose that falls somewhere between the culinary outdoorsiness of Jim Harrison and the urban insight of Candace Bushnell. Traveling through Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, hunting turkey, duck, and hog, she explores the thrill of the chase (“I listen to the cartridge slip into the chamber, and walk sideways into the tall, cream grass”) and reflects on its denouement (“the casual way in which nature treats life and death”). And she is equally keen in observing the series of male companions who serve as hosts and guides for her outings. These range from a friendly lawyer who escorts her through a Louisiana Bayou to a scary poacher with an uncomfortable perspective on steak in Wyoming’s cattle country.”
A bubbly combination hunting memoir and how-to guide, with some stellar recipes.
Pellegrini (Food Heroes: 16 Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition, 2010), whose popular blog chronicles her adventures hunting, cooking and globetrotting, focuses her book on the hunts. After college, the author forewent a career on Wall Street in favor of more schooling, at the French Culinary Institute. As a chef, she worked at Manhattan’s gourmet Gramercy Tavern as well as Blue Hill at Stone Barns; her mouthwatering, meat-centric recipes are the stars of her stories. Pellegrini began hunting several years ago, when she was curious to determine if it was possible to eat only meat that she had killed. Her interest shares the same spirit as Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, although her recounting of her hunts is more personal and less deadly serious than most. A large part of Pellegrini’s identity as a hunter has been defined by her relative youth and striking, blond-haired beauty, and her toughness constantly surprises veteran male hunters. The author divides her book by prey, with separate chapters devoted to quail, squirrel, deer and turkey, among others. Pellegrini describes chasing wild hogs along the banks of the Mississippi while riding on the back of an ATV, as well as quieter moments spent drinking whiskey fireside and listening to the tales of grizzled hunters. The author isn’t a particularly strong or compelling writer, but her enthusiastic stories are original and will appeal to chefs and foodies, especially women, who are interested in tracking their food all the way to the table.
Entertaining for a specific audience. – Kirkus Reviews
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