Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My biggest photography project yet: Duck, Duck, Goose - the cookbook!

Click here to buy.
Super excited to announce the release of a second cookbook featuring my photography: Duck, Duck, Goose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Ducks and Geese, both Wild and Domesticated (Ten Speed Press).

As Hank Shaw's live-in food photographer, I've been doing photography for his James Beard Award-winning blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook for years now. I also did most of the photography for his first book, Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast (Rodale, 2011).

But "Duck, Duck, Goose" is special to me for several reasons. First and foremost, waterfowling is my passion, and one of the primary reasons I started hunting ducks was how incredibly good they taste.

And on a more personally gratifying level: This book is 100 percent in color, unlike "Hunt, Gather, Cook." Every single image is mine, right down to the duck silhouette motif you'll see throughout the book. And Andrew Zimmern of the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods" gave me a nice shout-out in his back-cover review of the book. Thanks, Andrew!

If you're not a hunter, this book still has plenty for you - Hank and I worked with both domestic and wild ducks. And if you are a hunter, this is an indispensable guide for getting the most out of your birds. Some of the dishes are super cheffy, but the book also devotes a lot of space to basic techniques that you'll appreciate even if you never try the high-wire stuff.

The recipes originate from all over the globe, so if you love ethnic food, you'll find lots of ethnicities represented here. And having eaten every single dish I photographed, I can tell you they're ridiculously delicious. Even though they sometimes got cold by the time I was done shooting them.

If you'd like to meet the master, Hank will be on book tour for the next several months, and most of his events are dinners at excellent restaurants with chefs the likes of Bryan Voltaggio and Anita Lo. These events are fun because you can get dinner and face time with Hank, not just hear a lecture and stand in line for an autograph. You can check out what cities he's visiting here.

Work prevents me from joining him on the whole tour, though I will go to a few stops with him, time permitting.

I hope you'll consider buying the book. If you do, enjoy!

© Holly A. Heyser 2013

Video: How to pluck and gut a dove

I think most hunters like to breast out their doves, but you know me - I'm a fan of eating as much of the bird as possible. Besides, I once watched my boyfriend Hank cook whole doves for a group of men who were used to breasting them out, and they were nearly in tears it was so good. Definitely had some converts that day.

So for all my kindred spirits out there, I've created a video showing how I pluck and gut the bird. I'm already bracing for the comments on YouTube: "Brah, there's an easier way. Just breast 'em out." Yes, I know, Brah. I'm showing you another way. If you're not interested, don't do it.

© Holly A. Heyser 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What happens when you put hard work into a dove hunt - a column for Shotgun Life

As a writer, I'm generally bored by happy endings - failure is so much more interesting than great shooting and a fat limit of anything.

But in this case, the journey included enough failures to make that happy ending worth writing about, and thus I present to you my latest column for Shotgun Life.

One note worth adding: It was in writing this column that I finally pieced together something I've been feeling about hunting for seven years - the straight-line connection between my non-consumptive childhood wanderings out in nature and hiking with a gun. It's been hard to figure out precisely why I almost always flash back to childhood when I'm out in places like this, but a sentence spilled out of me for this column that made it pretty clear.

I'd be interested to know whether it's the same for everyone else, or just a case of me being my weird old self. Read it, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

© Holly A. Heyser 2013