The Mindful Carnivore Delivers Philosophy High in Protein and Conservation
If you’ve read my blog over the last year, you know my leisure reading often focuses on the connection between hunting and food. Steven Rinella’s two novels, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and American Buffalo, first hooked me on the subject. Hank Shaw’s Hunt, Gather, Cook and Georgia Pellegrini’s Girl Hunter extended my interest in the theme. My latest exploration of the topic was Tovar Cerulli’s new book The Mindful Carnivore.
Admittedly, I was skeptical beginning Cerulli’s book. The jacket cover promoted the book as a vegan’s journey into hunting, so I was on alert for a disingenuous story of incongruous ideologies to simply turn a couple bucks. My fears were quickly calmed with Cerulli’s scholarly treatment of the subject, and ultimately I became fascinated with his internal struggles coming to terms with the decision to put the killing of his family’s food into his own hands. Like Aldo Leopold, Cerulli came to recognize the problems associated with society’s lack of understanding about food and its connection to land.
What I enjoyed most about The Mindful Carnivore was the amount of focus Cerulli spent on the connection between wildlife habitat conservation, hunting and food. While Rinella, Shaw and Pellegrini all addressed conservation to varying degrees, Cerulli dove deep into the topic and even held conservation up as the reason hunting made sense to him over vegetarianism. In the process, he came to the realization that all food – vegetables and meat –result in the death of animals one way or another. As you can imagine from Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s perspective, I was excited to read Cerulli’s compelling arguments for a conservation ethic when making food choices.
The only trouble I had with the book was the majority of Cerulli’s hunting focused on whitetails. While it’s hard to argue with the volume of meat and taste of venison from a deer, I’d have liked to read about Cerulli’s perspective of hunting birds in cooperation with animals- dogs. Perhaps that’s part of his future plans.
Although this is his first book, Cerulli writes with the confidence of a seasoned vet. His voice is engaging, his rationale logical, and his research thorough. Overall, The Mindful Carnivore was a really easy, thought-provoking read.