Tuesday, February 10, 2004


No, I'm not going back to consuming the flesh of other creatures in rare chunks and gobbets, I just instantly happened to recollect the hearty flavor of the venison my uncle used to bring us every deer season when I went out into the garden yesterday morning to get some spinach for lunch and found the entire bed looking like the rich green exclusive carpet in the lobby of that classic hotel in Hollywood, whose name understandably eluded me.

I shook my head to clear my eyes, but no matter how long I shook it, the large and only yesterday vigorously growing spinach bed remained as flat and smooth as if a herd of sheep had just come through. There was only one set of tracks, though: the hoofprints of a deer bouncing around with the sheer joy to be found in a pre-dawn feast of green lusciousness. (Imagine the savor and mouthfeel of several square meters of fresh baby spinach, after an entire winter of dried bamboo leaves.) No doubt it was the buck who's been at the biwa tree: I went over to check that and sure enough, he'd had the biwa tree for dessert and used no napkin, just left the bedraggled branches hanging where he'd broken them off to get at the best parts.

So in a sort of deeply reflexive, not to say Pavlovian way, I began to recall the increasingly appealing taste of venison. Nothing really omnivorous mind you, just a brief hallucination brought on by a sudden deficiency of spinach, aggravated by biwa trouble. I love deer; they go great with mashed potatoes and gravy, nice spinach salad on the side.

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