Wild Things

1198861998Whenever we find ourselves in rural Ohio, as we did this past holiday weekend, we’re reminded of just how good we Bostonians have it. Much as we gripe about $8 pasta sauce at Whole Foods or the rush-hour madness at Shaw’s, our grocery stores are generally well-stocked. Want to whip up a quick cacciatore or a bowl of pho? You’re covered.

As if to remind us that most Americans live a very different food reality, we had a hell of a time finding a plain baguette at the local Giant Eagle supermarket; the closest we came was a “Parisian” loaf that looked like it came from Subway, not the boulangerie. That’s not to say we didn’t eat heartily while we were out there; it’s just that we managed to fill our 2008 quota for margarine and Jell-O consumption in a matter of days.

There’s one area, however, where Northeast Ohioans have Bostonians totally beat: Wild game.

Yes, we spent our holiday in a hunter’s paradise, the land of drive-thru ammo shops. When we opened Mom’s freezer, out tumbled packages labeled “Game Meat,” printed with check boxes for deer, elk, antelope, bison, and moose.

And so we reaped the rewards of our stepdad’s recent hunting trip, cruising back on I-90 with a cooler full of venison stew meat, a venison roast, wild salmon, and wild boar sausage. True, we could probably pick up said foodstuffs at Savenor’s, but it’s better when you think you might find a bullet in your Bolognese.

We’re especially looking forward to the crumbled boar meat, which should be excellent on pappardelle. Tossed with a jar of $8 tomato sauce from Whole Foods? Divine.