Bread from deer

When I was little, I looked forward to the holidays.

It wasn’t for the presents — as a family we were so poor that I once received pencils with my name on them and an orange in my stocking.  My cousin, by comparison, got a Commodore 64 that he broke three days later.

And it wasn’t about spending time with my parents — I hated my stepmother with a vengeance normally reserved for Hitler, decaf coffee, or disco.  Probably because she bought me shitty presents like pencils and stupid fruit while she bought my cousin a computer he had no idea what to do with.

No, it was the food.  As I previously mentioned, we were poor.  Going to someone else’s house for the holidays was code for EAT A GREAT DEAL, and the hosts always seemed to be prejudiced against leftovers.

Now, I don’t remember where I was exactly when the following took place, but I recall standing in the doorway of the kitchen.  The ‘elders of the tribe’ had returned from the butchers with a giant chunk of a deer they’d bagged a few days earlier.  I watched as this beast was being prepped for the feast and I asked, in my city-boy naiveté, “Where does bread come from?”

One of them turned to me quite casually and said, “Deer.”

BANG!  Talk about having your mind blown.  I realize now, years later, that he probably thought I’d asked, “What is that?” or perhaps, “What’s a four-letter word for a graceful forest animal that rhymes with beer?”

But with this reply, I suddenly imagined the members of my family stalking this animal through the woods, cutting off its escape and finally launching a long and lethal arrow into the side of a big, brown, thundering and bounding creature that just happened to be made of soft, piping hot bread that tasted great with vegetable dip and made for great venison sandwiches.

I think I like my version better.

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4 thoughts on “Bread from deer

  1. We did the orange in the stocking thing too and I know my parents tried, but times can be tough. One time I told some kids at school that I didn’t expect much for Christmas because Santa had been “laid off again.” I didn’t even know what “laid off” meant and was surprised that they hadn’t heard the news themselves.

    Like the new look for your blog. Very clean.

    And, in case you were still wondering, bread comes from the ground-up bones of Ogres…or something like that

  2. An easy mistake to make. Bread actually comes from alligators, as you can see in this photo of a breadgator hunter posing with his kill:

  3. I love the throw-back of celebrating with a precious fruit that used to be difficult to get at just any time and didn’t grow near enough to be affordable.

    We did that too, but likely because we were also relatively poor (By relatively, I mean we weren’t as poor as the migrant sheep farmers that came to live in the abandoned house across the road but poor enough to worry about things like having enough wood to burn to keep the house warm.).

    Oranges were one more thing to plump up the stockings. Clementines were favorites because they were so easy to peel and, if peeled carefully, became tiny luminaries to brighten the table. To this day my family makes much of a to do over grapefruits at Christmas time. I’m not sure why since we can all pretty much buy grapefruits whenever ever we want. The red ones even.

    Every Easter the Easter Bunny would visit out house and leave behind baskets filled with new undies, slips, a new summer dress, summer shoes, tights and socks. Plus a few jelly beans and a small chocolate rabbit. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that other kids got tons of candy (name branded!), plastic trinkets, baubles and bits, games and real toys. Not that I’m bitter. Not at all.

    What I wouldn’t give now for someone to leave me a basket of new socks, tights and under-things…free and everything in just the right size.

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