By Georgia Pellegrini
Lifelong Books, $24.00, 248 pages, 4 stars
Part-autobiography and part-wild game cookbook, Georgia Pellegrini’s Girl Hunter is a journey through the rural south, following the author from the trading floor of Lehman Brothers before she found her calling as a chef and hunter, to The Village in the Arkansas Delta, where she begins to learn what it really means to live close to the land during her first wild turkey hunt with her mentor, the Commish. Each chapter describes the intricacies of the hunt for a particular type of game – like turkey, grouse, pheasant, duck, deer, and hog to name a few – followed by recipes for the more ambitious reader to attempt. While the farm-to-table purist will appreciate Pellegrini’s detailed descriptions of the way food is hunted and prepared, the narrative is as much a celebration of the land and the often-surprising characters who live as a part of it everyday, as it is about waiting patiently behind a blind for patient hours on end. With humor, reverence and authenticity, Pellegrini’s Girl Hunter is an honest account of following one’s passion – even if it takes you to a soggy village outside of London to hunt woodcocks – and a fascinating adventure through a world and culture many of us may never come to know as intimately otherwise.
“The morning of my very first turkey hunt in the Village, in the days when high heels and martinis were much more familiar to me than camo and turkey callers, I saw a group of wild young hogs running across our taillights as the Commish and I drove to the woods before sunrise. I was blurry eyed still, sucking in hot coffee when I saw them and blurted out, ‘Those look good.’ It was an instinct, a voice that came out and spoke without my help…In the dark morning, those small hogs didn’t look like hairy four-legged creatures to me; rather, like running sausages.”
Reviewed by Alexandra Walford