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Original Issue

A cookbook for huntsmen and fishermen brings wildlife right to the dinner table

The big-game hunter who, at the end of the deer season, hopes never to eat another slice of leftover venison, or the rifleman who fells a bear without a clear idea of what to do with the carcass, could profit by presenting his wife with a copy of Gertrude Parke's Going Wild in the Kitchen. It is a cookbook enthusiastically devoted to such hardy fare as Roast Bear Paws, Roast Venison with Whortleberries (huckleberries), Mooseburgers, Woodcock Flambée—to name only a few of the recipes which offer solutions to one of the sportsman's seasonal dilemmas. There is no reason why America should not have its own haute cuisine, argues Mrs. Parke. "We fall into deplorable culinary ruts and fail to use our turn to what our native land so readily produces." When, for example, did you last present your guests with an appetizer of Marinated Fiddleheads? The fiddlehead, or cinnamon fern, grows along any stream in shady places. The city dweller who looks in vain for a stream on 42nd Street or in downtown Cleveland may now find fiddleheads canned or even fresh in some large markets. You can always find nettles for soup to precede your Wild Duck in Wine. A duck is frequently easier to shoot than to cook. "There are those who claim that a duck should be merely carried through a warm room," muses the author, launching us thus on a fascinating discussion of what to do with game birds. You might try Grouse with Grapes, Quail and Cabbage, Turkey-Oyster Pie. American woods still abound in smaller game. Muskrat is sometimes sold in eastern markets under the name of "marsh rabbit" or served in restaurants as "musquash." Under any name, fried, braised or stewed, it is good eating, says Mrs. Parke.

A great portion of the book is devoted to fish: how and where to catch it, clean it, cook it and eat it. In April the American smelt (Osmerus mordax) arrives in Lake Erie, near where Mrs. Parke lives. "We may have had an early dinner and are enjoying our coffee...when we hear the tinkle of a bell outside: Hank and Betty have come for us with their smelt-mobile, and we know that the smelt are running." (A smelt-mobile is essentially an orange crate mounted on wheels.) Eight recipes then follow describing the quick fate of the smelt, which may be cooked on the beach, French-fried, pan-fried, shirred, prepared au gratin, baked, stuffed and baked, or cooked en brochette. The same loving care is given to bass, bullheads, catfish, carp, perch, trout or anything, for that matter, with gills and enough nerve to swim past Mrs. Parke and her crew.