I come from a very outdoorsy family. My paternal great grandfather moved to America from Belgium, and along with his wife lived on a plot of land where chickens were raised, apples were grown and rabbits were hunted. His son, my grandpa, inherited a love of hunting, fishing, boating, camping and other outdoors-y activities, and he passed those hobbies down to my dad, who has passed them down to my sister and I.
When I ran across a copy of “Shooter’s Bible Cookbook” by Geraldine Steindler at my favorite local antique shop, I knew I had to pick it up, not just because it would make a great addition to my vintage publication collection but also because I knew my family could make use of it when we have lucky hunting and fishing trips.
This 1965 cookbook features recipes that make use of animals commonly hunted in America, from big game like bears to small birds. In addition to recipes for soups, pasta dishes and other tasty meals, the cookbook features a section with in-field tips for preserving meat during and directly after a hunt. The book’s cover boasts that it will teach you “HOW TO: Take the ‘gaminess’ out of wild game. Make every dish a gourmet’s delight.” Here are a few sample recipes:
Geraldine “Gerry” Steindler, author of this cookbook, seems extremely knowledgeable on the subjects of hunting and of cooking game meats.
The inside of the front cover provides some biographical information about Gerry, as well as a couple of photos of her in the field. Gerry came from a family of cooks. Her grandfather and her uncle both worked in the food industry (as a confectioner and a caterer, respectively) and she began cooking meals for her family before she was out of high school.
It wasn’t until Gerry became engaged to Bob Steindler that she took up shooting and hunting. Bob was an avid marksman and suggested that she take up the hobby, too. Gerry was was hesitant at first but soon became an expert in both sport-shooting and hunting. When she began hunting, she perfected the art of cooking game meats and also began to branch out in her culinary experiments by learning cultural dishes, from the Austrian traditions of her mother-in-law to “Gringo variations” (Gerry’s own term) on Mexican dishes. She decided to write a recipe book to dispel the negative reputation of game meats as too tough to cook.
Gerry greatly preferred game meats to their store-bought counterparts, and this cookbook advocates hunting and trapping for subsistence — a pretty unusual preference to hold in the burgeoning age of TV dinners and gelatin-filled dishes!