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A Renaissance foodie

by Andree Lau, CBCnews.ca

“It was my first smoking in my new yard, with apple pruned from my very [own] apple tree, smoking pork that a friend and I butchered with our very own hands, from a pig that was lovingly raised not too far from here.”

It’s easy to get wound up in Kevin Kossowan’s blog, as he writes about hunting big game in Alberta, going through the butchering process, and valuing both the good and bad in the full cycle of how meat ends up on our dinner tables.

Kossowan started his self-named blog strictly because his loves food and wine. But it’s evolved in the past few years to focus more on hunting, a topic few sites — much less Canadian ones — cover.

Kevin Kossowan with a calf moose from a hunt in November. (Courtesy Kevin Kossowan)

“I’m not the only one out there that feels people are disconnected from their food. It makes it real,” he explained from his Edmonton home.

“I was looking for really good, quality product and thought I should go down the road of killing the animal I was eating and thought there was some value in that.”

Kossowan said he’s noticed the intentions of big-game hunts have changed since his grandfather’s time when they shot animals as trophies.

“It’s far more food-focused, and it’s not about volume, it’s about quality,” he said.

But Kossowan readily admits that slaughtering animals is not pretty, especially field dressing, the messy process of removing the internal organs of game shot in the wild.

“I hate field dressing. And I’m really glad my dad is always there hunting with me and can guide me through it. It’s disgusting. It’s not fun. There’s nothing pretty about it at all.

“You do that and you certainly look at meat a little different.”

He is pleasantly surprised that there have been few negative comments and stereotypes about the “redneck hick that will shoot anything.” You're hardly left with that impression after reading how to dry cure or smoke your own bacon or mouth-watering recipes for calf moose.

A financial advisor by day and a former musician, Kossowan considers his blog an online diary of the things he learns as he goes, and a way to share information with other hunters, “trying to understand the product and understand the best ways of handling it.”

His next big project is a large garden for the next growing season.

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Sam Borsman


If Kossowan wants to feel connected to these animals and the process of killing them, he should stop referring to them as "the product."

Posted December 1, 2008 10:34 PM



Why is it that the people, like Kevin, who know the least about living off the land full time are the ones who bleat continuously about "connecting to nature"? People like him make me ill.

Posted December 3, 2008 11:41 AM

Colette Mandin


Ouch Sam and Sue...such jugdmental bitterness! I guess it is hard to face the fact that 95% of Canadians are now urban. Those people often DO want to connect with nature. From your comment, I would assume the only real nature people are rural. How insular and short sighted those comments are.

The anonymity of this type of correspondence does spawn the bitter critic!

Posted December 4, 2008 07:18 AM



Perhaps Kevin should make the effort more sporting by confronting his prey completely naked and armed only with his bare hands. Then he might feel even more connected. He complains about the field dressing process which he then passes on to his father. For what it is worth, I lived in a subsistence hunting culture for the first 31 years of my life, and consider Kevin to be someone who does not need to hunt to survive. He does it for pleasure. He probably spends more in fuel driving to and from one kill sites than my father burned in 10 years, beating across the prairie on snowshoes to bring home the rabbits and occasional deer we ate. By calling his game "product" he disconnects further from the food aspect.

Posted December 5, 2008 05:05 PM



Sam – I can see how that terminology could offend. I suppose I think of it in terms of the result of ‘producing’ food - meat, vegetables, fruit, etc. for the kitchen. I think you’d have a hard time finding that word used as many times in all my posts as it has been on this page.

Colette – have to agree in general, but I’m guessing that I could pick any activity I do and find somebody out there who would take offense. Not surprised at all that hunting would be a littler hotter topic than most.

Sue and Daria - I don’t think that Andree implied, nor would you find it in my blog that I claim to be subsistence hunting, gardening, foraging, etc. Not even close. I do all of them because I enjoy some part of activity, and because I enjoy the foods [see, I’d use the term ‘product’ and offend, but I mean it in the same context] to feed myself and my family. Please don’t assume that because I write about my food escapades that I’m implying I’m an authority on any of the topics. Andree got it correct that it’s simply an online diary of things I learn as I spend time in the kitchen, and I think that's fairly clear to those who read it.

Posted December 13, 2008 10:33 AM



Sam, how does referring to an edible product as a product remove from the same experience? He's harvesting food. Would you prefer he name the animals he takes home? Do you name carrots as they’re picked from the garden? I do. It makes me feel more connected to pretend this Onion is Joe, as opposed to a product. “La la la la la,” *skips*

There’s a slaughter house in Calgary, one of the largest in North America, which slaughters thousands of cows a day. Thousands. Because you’ve deemed yourself worthy of choosing the dietary source of others, in this case, implying Kevin should buy beef like everyone else, it’s somehow less of an ethical burden to pass the buck to the slaughter house. Because we all know how well the cows are treated. That’s far more humane. I feel so much more whole, now; thinking of how someone else is slaughtering an animal as opposed to doing it myself. Glad I can sleep at night because of this. Someone point me towards to nearest Beef kiosk. I hope there’s not a picture of a cow, anywhere.

The problem I have with the general population of anti-hunters is not their beliefs, but the arguments they make. Like, killing an animal with their bare hands would teach us a lesson, for example. I’ve heard that one a hundred times. That’s an inhumane way to treat an animal, Daria, killing it with one’s bare hands. It’s disconcerting you’d propose something like that, and would suggest that you might want to reconsider how you view animals, as opposed to seeing them as sporting targets, fit for games.

Posted December 15, 2008 01:02 PM


God forbid a city dweller actually know precisely how their food gets to their table?! That's insanity.

Posted December 24, 2008 01:17 PM

Jason Sandeman

I find it difficult to swallow some of these comments, mainly because of their highly critical and hypocritical nature. Take the poster whose "father... beating across the prairie on snowshoes to bring home the rabbits and occasional deer we ate." I think that you are missing the point of the post.

The author did not grow up in the "subsistence hunting culture" as the commenter did, but he also is doing more than your average Joe in connecting to what it means to have a carcass at your table.

What disturbs me is the judgement people pass off, while eating a 4$ a pounch chicken that lived packed in a crate for most of its natural life. How dare the author try and understand where his food comes from. Perhaps it is more civilized to eat the salmon that is farmed in a habitat that is polluting the ocean and killing off oterh species of fish. Better yet, go to McDonalds and try and connect with the beef that was raised in huge feedlots to furnish the huge corporation.

For the "Veggie" types that claim they have no onus for their food choice, consider this: unless you are buying local, from farmers YOU KNOW, you have no right to be critical either.

The author is at least honest in what he writes about, which is far less than what I can say about you all.

Posted December 26, 2008 08:44 AM

Eric Giesbrecht


Great points of discussion revealed here - anyone want to continue to conversation in person?

i am on the steering committee for Slow Food Calgary and we are organizing our annual Slow Resolutions dinner on January 12th at the Cookbook Company, 6:30pm. hostess for the evening is local poet and author dee Hobsbawn Smith. btw, we'll be eating local piggie.....

these are the kinds of discussions that we love to foster and cultivate, especially in meet/meat-space. care to join us?

~eric giesbrecht

Posted January 3, 2009 10:42 AM

Kristeva Dowling

I actually loved field dressing my moose. Yes it's a big, messy job but I actually can honestly say that I loved every minute of it.

Posted November 10, 2009 12:32 AM

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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.

About the writers

Amber Hildebrandt Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.

Andrea Chiu Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.

Tara Kimura Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.

Andree Lau Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).

Jessica Wong Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.

Kevin Yarr Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.

Elizabeth Bridge Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.


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