Pros: A wide variety of good game recipes; clear layout; great tips
Cons: Some not-so-great recipes; no photos; dubious “low fat” designations
Rating: 4 out of 5
The third edition of J. Carol Vance’s Wild Game Cookery includes recipes for large game, fowl and small game, fish and seafood, wild greens and edibles, and side dishes to go with your hand-harvested goodies. Of particularly good news to folks who enjoy variety but don’t do much fishing or hunting is the fact that many of these ingredients (venison, wild rice, goose, duck, etc.) can be found in grocery stores, butchers, or specialty online stores these days.
The recipe layout is very clear and easy to read, and we didn’t encounter any mistakes or errors in the recipes we tried. (Our favorite was a roast marinated in maple syrup for two days.) Although I tend to be more forgiving of the lack of photos in cookbooks than some people, it’s a bit of a shame that there aren’t any in this book, seeing as plenty of people haven’t worked with venison, duck, etc. and would probably love to see some mouth-watering sample photos.
Some recipes have notes such as “low fat” under them, although I’m a tad dubious, seeing as, for example, I don’t think I’d call any duck recipe low-fat (it tends to be a very fatty meat in my experience). There are some very handy side instructions, however, such as how to tell when your venison steaks are done to your liking.
No one was terribly impressed with the potato side dish we made from here, which had virtually no seasoning or flavor to it. Many of the dishes are minimally flavored, or use pre-blended flavorings such as Old Bay or packaged spicy ketchup. Sometimes this works out well with a given ingredient, but sometimes I was left wondering why one would need a cookbook to tell them to put some of these ingredients together.
All in all I do recommend Wild Game Cookery if you aren’t sure what to do with a duck, goose, venison steak, dandelion greens, trout, etc. Most of the recipes are easy and delicious. If you’re an adventurous and well-seasoned cook looking for new and exciting things to add to your repertoire, however, there are probably better choices out there.