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Mountain recipes for venison passed down through generations

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From the Foxfire Book

Deer hunting in Western North Carolina just ended on Jan. 1 and many deer hunters’ freezers are full of ground venison as well as steaks, sausage, and more. The 1972-published Foxfire Book, available at local bookstores and online, is “dedicated to the people of these mountains in the hope that, through it, some portion of their wisdom, ingenuity, and individuality will remain long after them to touch us all.”

All through this book are stories, some of which include recipes, about the long-passed-down traditions and ways of generations of Macon County and surrounding county residents. 

A recipe in the “Wild Animals” food section is for venison loaf and stew. For venison loaf, mix together 2.5 pounds ground deer meat, 1 pound of ground pork, 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 large chopped onion, and 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs dampened with a little water. Shape into a loaf and bake for about an hour at 400 degrees.

AFTER DEER hunting season, many people in Macon County have freezers full of venison.

For stew, cut two pounds of meat into one-inch cubes and brown on all sides in a small amount of fat (olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, etc.). Then, in a stewing pot (pull out a big cast iron pot if available), add the meat, 2 cups water, 4 potatoes, 6 large carrots, 4 medium onions, a quart of tomatoes (about 2 pounds of tomatoes), 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for three hours. After three hours, thicken with 3 tablespoons flour and one-half cup water.

According to Foxfire Book, “Another person told us to thicken with flour, 3 tablespoons bacon drippings, and a pint of tomato juice.”