Archive | April, 2013

Urban Hunting — the Ethical Choice?

17 Apr

DeerI opened Saturday’s paper and there on the front page was a photo of a pretty, young woman holding an antler and standing on a city sidewalk. The headline proclaimed that she was part of a growing trend: “The New Urban Hunters” — people who for various reasons are learning to hunt — some for sport, but many for food.  The intro stated that this young woman was brought up as a Buddhist and is now a “recovering vegetarian”. She believes (as do others) that hunting and killing a wild animal is an ethical and sustainable method of obtaining meat.

Ethical? Sustainable?

Really?

The young woman claimed to want a more humane way to put a roast on her table and I might have been convinced of her concerns if I hadn’t found her reasons for hunting a little selfish, when she declared that after tasting wild game,”even the best beef tasted like garbage”.  She stated that she is an animal lover but she had no qualms about killing them for her own satisfaction. Other fledgling hunters, in the article, spoke about dissatisfaction with our industrialized food industry, a return to traditional ways of providing food such as gardening, foraging and felt that hunting was a natural extension in the move to a sustainable lifestyle.

I can’t quite believe that hunting game for food is, in any way, sustainable — our destruction of wild life habitats alone diminish the counts of elk, deer, grouse, etc. — and just imagine the devastation of many species of game animals if even half the population of the Lower Mainland grabbed their shotguns and headed out the woods to bag dinner! The article did not mention what the hunters do with the parts of their kill that would not be thrown in the stew pot. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to raise your own animals for food?

I fail to see how stalking and killing an animal can be considered morally right.  Is it any different, ethically speaking, than buying it already dead and packaged in the meat section of your local Save-On Foods?

To my mind, the ethical choice is to become a vegetarian.

(You can read the article in The Vancouver Sun – Saturday, April 13, 2013)

Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head…

9 Apr

HPIM2805This is my new old umbrella — I’d only been using it for a week! Granted, it only cost me $9.99 plus tax, but still you’d think it would have held up longer than seven days.

Look at it, some of the ribs are broken, the nylon has come off the points in some places it and the locking mechanism would spontaneously slide open while I was under it, becoming a hat rather than a rain shield.

For the past week or so, we have had gorgeous weather — sunny, warm and DRY! It was such a change from last month when we had nothing but rain —  A LOT of rain — honestly, I thought I was going to grow a set of gills behind my ears!

I’m not complaining, not really, because living on the “Wet Coast” means enjoying all the liquid sunshine that comes our way throughout the year. We never let a little water ruin our day!  As long as we have our gortex, gum boots and umbrellas, we’re ready to go.  I just had to get another  umbrella and this time I planned on getting a really good one.

So I did a little research and I checked out some “umbrella facts”.  I read up on some umbrella history, and did a little “surf” shopping to find  a well made umbrella for a not-too-exorbitant price. I learned a lot about umbrellas but I couldn’t find anything that I really liked online… I did, however, come across a gorgeous umbrella (from the umbrella shop!) at House Warmings, a cute little gift and home decor store at Grandview Corners. Now I am ready for puddle jumping. Bring on the rain!

My new umbrella!

My new umbrella!

Where’s the Chili?

8 Apr

Chili pepperI was reading yesterday’s blog post because one of my FB friends commented that there is no mention of chili or cumin in the recipe that I posted for Bruce’s Black & White Chicken Chili! Wait —what?!  Did I just goof up? He gave me the directions verbally since he never cooks from a recipe — he always cooks on the fly, so to speak.

I asked him if he put chili and/or cumin in last night’s dinner. This elicited a long silence then a hearty chuckle — nope, the recipe was correct as written — he forgot to add in the spices! Laughing, he said maybe we should call it “Bruce’s Black & White Chicken Stew”! Hehehe!

So if you want chili for dinner tonight and you are thinking of trying the recipe previously posted, please add in 1 tablespoon of chili and a teaspoon of cumin (or season to taste) when you add the chicken back in. You could even toss in some chopped chile peppers if you want the extra heat!

Of course, you could make the “chili” just as I wrote it yesterday. It was delicious and no one missed the “chili-ness”!

From Wikipedia:
Chili con carne (chili with meat), more commonly known simply as chili, is a spicy stew containing chili peppers, meat (usually beef), tomatoes and often beans. Other seasonings may include garlic, onions, and cumin.

Black & White Chicken Chili

7 Apr

chiliBruce made dinner tonight! Why the excitement, you ask?  Well, it’s been quite some time since he’s wielded anything close to a spatula, so I think I’m justified in being a little overjoyed by the prospect.

Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a wonderful cook — he just doesn’t do it very often! His bouillabaisse is to die for and his chili recipe is so delectable – whether it is a traditional beef chili or his specialty “black and white” chicken chili  — it’s a real treat.

And the best part? No cooking for me!!

Bruce’s Black & White Chicken Chili

Ingredients:
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 28 oz. can white kidney beans, rinsed
1 28 oz can black beans, rinsed
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 green pepper, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or Hoisin sauce
Olive oil

Method:
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Sauté the chicken until browned, sprinkling in Italian seasoning if desired. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Add  onions and garlic to pan, sauté until softened. Lower the heat and add the celery, cook for a couple of minutes and then add the  peppers, stirring frequently. After a couple of minutes, add in the chicken back in, and a little more Italian seasoning if you wish. Cook on medium-low for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid singeing. Add tomatoes, stir until incorporated. Heat until mixture reaches a slow boil, stirring occasionally. Add in Dijon mustard, Balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir, add the beans and simmer for at least 1/2 hour or until you are very hungry and must eat immediately.

To serve:
Spoon into bowls, crack pepper as desired, add large pinch of grated cheese (Haberno would be fabulous). Enjoy with homemade cornbread or fresh buns and a glass of dry red wine. preferably a Malbec.

Down By The River

6 Apr

carLast weekend was so gloriously sunny and warm that we decided to get outside for some fresh air and vitamin D. We decided to explore Brownsville Bar Park, a sandy beach and pleasant walking loop on the Fraser River.

There were several groups of people relaxing with their picnic baskets, lawn chairs and beach toys, enjoying the view and the sounds of the rushing water. Their dogs happily running along the banks, trying to catch the clever gulls. The soft sand beach stretches along the shore of the mighty Fraser River, situated under the Pattullo and Sky Train bridges.

We walked along the grassy loop and then explored the beach, stepping amid the water-smoothed river rocks and washed-up flotsam and jetsam that only a flowing body of water can deposit on its shores. The high-rises of New Westminster beckoned us across the river, shimmering in the bright sunlight.

Among the bits of beach glass and driftwood, there lay scraps of metal and plastic, remnants of signs, boats, ropes and riggings. A rusty garden spade. The most surprising was a conglomeration of metal and rubber — tires and hubcaps — I’m convinced that an entire car was deposited on the riverbank.

A solitary man, wearing work gloves and gumboots, was picking through the debris, carting off large pieces of metal and throwing them into the back of his pick-up truck.

I thought about that car — how far did it travel down the river, why was it there?  I marveled at the mighty Fraser and all the stories it could tell us, if we only knew how to listen.

Ponder

5 Apr

Thought for today:

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~ Buddha

What I Read Last Week

4 Apr

sistersbrothersThe Sisters Brothers, winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Stephen Leacock Medal, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Walter Scott Prize [whew!!], is Patrick deWitt’s second novel and well worth reading.

I would describe it as a gunslinger adventure tinged with fantasy.

Eli and Charlie, the dreaded Sisters brothers embark upon a life-changing mission, hunting down Hermann Warm on orders from their boss, the Commodore. Their pursuit causes Eli (the younger brother and the narrator of the tale) to experience some deep self reflection as the siblings encounter a motley bunch of travelers and many obstacles to the completion of their task.

The characters are colourful, quirky and memorable — from the wealthy “Commodore” to the lowly stable hand — keep the story lively and hilarious with just a little gore and violence thrown in. The grittiness and hardships of life for the two infamous gunmen-for-hire come to life as Eli Sisters chronicles their trek from Oregon City to the gold-studded rivers of California searching for the man who crossed the fearsome Commodore. Eli’s soul searching, as the brothers trudge through the wild frontier, compels him to take a long hard look at the life that he and Charlie are living and to realize his longing for something different.

I thought that this novel was well written, funny and thoughtful. It is a comical, somewhat gritty narrative of misadventure,violence, avarice, and love.
I would recommend this book. I am definitely going to read Mr. deWitt’s first novel, Ablutions and I look forward to his next one.

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