An Elevator Speech and Venison Meatballs

I never know how to respond when someone asks me if I eat meat. Some days I’m tempted to reply with an emphatic “Of course I eat meat. What kind of a leaf-chomping veg do you take me for?” And some days it’s “No, no. Meat? No.” The former is called Keeping Up Appearances, the latter is Sweeping It Under the Rug.

The tRuth is, I’ve never responded with those exact words, but my affinity towards meat is as bi-polar as it sounds. I’m not a carnivore, but I’m no vegetarian either. After 22 years and one-too-many people confused by my moody relationship with this provisionI’ve finally perfected my five-second elevator speech.

I eat meat when I crave it and if it’s been ethically raised, with some exceptions.

I can see the red pen scratchings of my TAs and editors quite vividly, shooting this sentence down and calling out the washiness of “crave,” “ethically,” and “exceptions.” But luckily this is my blog, not a thesis or a column. And one thing’s for sure: when friends from Slow Food-UW allocate a whole deer via a herd control list, process it, and ask you if you want a portion, you say yes.  This led to a deeply delicious and satisfying experiment gone right. No ifs, ands, or red pen scratchings about it.

Venison Meatballs


1 pound ground venison*

2/3 cup bread crumbs

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons dried parsley or other favorite herbs

1/4 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup milk

2 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

*You can substitute ground beef for all or part of the venison if you prefer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with milk. Add bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, onion and garlic, salt and pepper; mix well. Add ground meat and mix with your hands until combined. Form into golf ball-sized meatballs, and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake until lightly browned and cooked throughout, about 15 minutes. Serve with toothpicks, or your favorite spaghetti sauce, or pasta, or all three.

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