COVID and Cooking Can Change Your Outlook

WKXL talkshow host Chris Ryan, likes bison burgers. In fact, his goal this summer was to try all sorts of burger meats. He asked his friend, Steve Labbe, owner of Paradigm Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, “So what burger meat is your favorite? Elk, venison…?”

“Moose is my favorite, but it’s hard to get,” Steve responded. “There’s something about it. I can’t put my finger on it. Nice flavor. You know I like venison. Well, venison has its own taste. Some people like it, and some people don’t. Beef has its own flavor, too. Another thing about meats, the texture is something that should be considered.”

Chris added, “Bison was easy to cook. But it’s not as juicy as a typical burger.”

“Look at the two of us,” Steve said. “You and I are foodees! Yeah, I like bison, too. But because of the cost I don’t get it often. “You know that I always have venison, whether from hunting or roadkill. By the way, I am cooking venison this morning.”

“But another thing that comes into the mix of what you eat is how you take the game – do you get it in a humane way? In my opinion, taking a deer with a bow is the best. It’s the ‘soft’ way. A deer will basically bleed out.”

“I like the idea of looking back at our heritage, in other words to ‘enjoy the bounty’. It’s what life is all about – hunting, fishing, foraging.”

Chris responded, “I am into that, too.”

Steve went on, “I enjoy my time with my son. I hate killing – we know that taking a life is sacred. But it’s also food, and everything with hunting is involved.”

Chris added, “There is something special about growing or harvesting your own, whether it’s raising your own garden or hunting your own deer. If you eat deer it makes sense for you to take deer. And, of course, there’s also controlling the deer population. Talking about population, I have been watching chipmunks and squirrels running all over the place.” He added, jokingly, “I don’t know if you are into hunting those critters?”

Steve responded, “Wow, chipmunks and squirrels. I have been clearing my lot of trees the last couple of weeks, and my dog and I have been watching all those chippies and squirrels. My dog is a yorkie, a dog type that was bred to hunt those small animals. You can’t change what is in their blood.”

Chris said, “We have taken so many of the different animals for granted here in NH. Woodpeckers are fascinating. There was an eagle down by the river the other day. And on the coast, we and several other people were amazed to watch a small bird fighting the wind, foraging for food.”

Chris commented, “With COVID, people feel more isolated, and maybe returning back to their roots. You seem to have focused more on the simplicity of life. But you’ve always been involved in this.”

Steve thought about it and said, “I work hard at it. As I work hard in my yard, clearing the trees, I have also been watching ants, birds and other animals working hard, too. I was watching a robin build a nest next to the light on my shed. This robin put together that nest in one day. Amazing! I try to tune into mother earth. Tap into this – it’s like watching creation. While I am splitting wood, I am also seeing life in its fullest.”

Chris noted, “One of the most interesting aspects of the world is the many different types of animals. Birds with beaks that can crack open clams or oysters. Lizards that can change their skin color to adapt and survive in its domain. Each entity can survive in some way. It’s absolutely remarkable. They survive with the right tools and the where-with-all to live wherever they are.”

“We were at the recent opening of the Squam Science Center, and we saw a deer there – its antlers were starting in velvet. It was just fascinating. You know, we could talk about all the interesting plants, trees, and so forth. All living things survive somehow.”

Steve got philosophical, “Everything most days is so ‘game on’. It’s hard.”

Chris agreed, “Even if you are the most powerful thing on earth, you are still subject to nature. It is fascinating. There are few positives that have come from COVID 19 and the economic mess. But we have been given an opportunity to reset, enjoy our homes, yards, and our neighbors. When you are constantly go, go, go, you can easily lose track of things.”

But you have to remain positive.

Steve added, “You know I have a small boat, and I have been having all sorts of trouble this summer trying to get that boat registered [with COVID closures]. When I heard the town hall was opening, I was the first in line at my town to finally get my boat registered. I was excited!”

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