From the Author
As I sit here on the porch writing, I am watching Anna, my six year old, playing with the chickens and turkeys, while several of my other kids are picking salad greens from the garden for tonight's supper. How do I find myself in this blissful life after growing up with career minded parents preparing me for a life as an attorney and who did not even like to cook, much less garden? My husband, Scott, has always been a "Daniel Boone" of sorts. His life begins and ends with the outdoors, and he is a very self sufficient type of guy. I, on the other hand, was more of a city girl that happened to fall "head over heels" for this "land and animal loving" outdoorsman. We married during my last semester in law school, and thankfully, my life changed directions forever! Our first of 7 children arrived soon after our first anniversary. Never before had I wanted optimal health for myself and my family. We were already eating wild-game, but I began to see the necessity for other healthy sustainable foods even more now that we had a baby to care for. I began to enjoy this natural and self sufficient lifestyle more and more. It is very empowering to know that I could sustain my own life with the knowledge I have gained through the years. I have learned to shoot a gun, till the land, grow the perfect heirloom beef steak tomato, raise baby chicks, nurture bees, preserve all that I harvest, forage wild mushrooms, and cook the freshest, most succulent dishes known to man...at least my husband. I am continuing to learn to live the self sustainable life and it continues to transform my life and fill me with REAL, useful, life giving information that liberates my soul. The dirt, animals, sun, and rain have become my friends.
Historically, just about every home had a kitchen garden and a few chickens in the back yard, if not out of necessity, merely for the pleasure of raising nutritious food for their families. As our lives have gotten busier and space increasingly sparse, people have relied on supermarkets for their food source. Supermarket produce and meat are subpar to the simply grown vegetables, eggs, and meat of the backyard garden. Besides most of the supermarket fruits and vegetables being genetically modified and sprayed with pesticides, they have also lost much of their nutritional value and taste once they reach the supermarket shelves. Additionally, most of the supermarket proteins are full of antibiotics and hormones leaving wild game and fish as my obvious preference of protein. The diet of wild game is perfectly natural and perfect for our bodies just as God planned it. Not only are naturally harvested crops and game healthier, their taste is far more superior than their supermarket counterparts. Fresh, unaltered fruits, vegetables, home grown chickens, eggs, and game meat are truly the only choice for my family. The small effort that you can invest in raising and harvesting your own food far outweigh any sacrifices of time or energy that it may require. Really, it is no sacrifice at all considering the enjoyment of being so closely connected to nature.
Scott and I have taught our children to truly enjoy all kinds of foods, especially those that are perfectly fresh from the garden, woods, or water. They all take part in the entire process of harvesting food for the table whether it be planning the garden, saving seeds, fishing, or bringing in vegetables and herbs from the garden. When kids are take part in their own sustenance, they want the pleasure of enjoying it to the fullest with great recipes. They are competent in the lost art of harvesting and preserving their own foods and are able to make wise choices as to their food sources. Our family's greatest memories are always centered around food. I was blessed to have a grandmother that passed her traditional Southern preparation of food down to me. Many have the blessings of cherishing not only the recipes that have been passed down to them, but the heirloom seeds that have been saved from year to year from their grandparent's favorite plants. How awesome would that be? What a legacy! We have not had to force our children to work with us in planting and harvesting the garden. Quite the opposite. They feel that they are missing out on the fun if the are not with us. I am still, like a fascinated child, in awe each time that I plant a seed and see it grow from a seedling to a full grown plant producing sustenance for my family.
The self-sustainable lifestyle is one that contributes to superior food and health, extraordinary competence, responsibility, and financial stability as well as gives us a connection with our ancestors, families, and the land. I am a believer that home should be a place of industry, adventure, and rejuvenation to be of better service to others. What better way to fulfill this purpose than to be self sufficient and share the abundance with those around me? The satisfaction of tilling the ground, planting a seed, watching it grow and produce flavor and health giving food is one of the most treasured blessings in life that I want to pass down for generations to come. Using God's natural resources that He so bountifully supplies is a privilege and honor that inspires me to be a "keeper" of the land. My hope for you is to start with the basics of at least cooking with fresh vegetables and free range animals, or for those who are seasoned gardeners to continue on your journey to health and self sustainability with the sustainable recipes and information in this book. May you be blessed as you get back to the basics and enjoy your journey to the self sustainable life.
About the Author
Stacy Harris is the author of 3 cookbooks: Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living, Tracking the Outdoors, and Wildgame: Food for your Family, and as well as a DVD, Gourmet Venison with Stacy Harris and a blog, Game and Garden (gameandgarden.com). Stacy has appeared and shared her recipes on various national television shows including Deer and Deer Hunting, Destination Whitetail and the Jackie Bushman Show, as well as the nationally syndicated Rick and Bubba Show. Stacy regularly speaks on a national platform about Sustainable Living, with a concentration on eating from the wild, and growing and eating from heirloom plants. She also regularly contributes to Mossy Oak GameKeepers Magazine, Buckmasters, Living Ready Magazine, and other publications on the benefits and rewards of eating fresh from the wild.