Tag Archives: traditions

67. Deer Hunting (For Sport or Supper)

8 Feb

Photo by Kevin Chang
Flickr Creative Commons

At swank Seattle restaurants, venison is a delicacy, complete with delicacy prices ($25 to $45 per entrée). Southern fine dining establishments rarely feature venison for one simple reason: deer meat is FREE. Ok, I reckon you have to factor in the cost of a shotgun, some camo gear, a deer stand and possibly a four wheeler. But after those one-time investments, you can enjoy all the venison you like at no additional charge.

Of course, most Southerners don’t hunt simply for the meat. Would you rather A. crawl out of a warm bed at five a.m. to go and climb up a deer stand and freeze for hours hoping to get lucky or B. go to Kroger and buy a t-bone? Right.

So what is it about hunting that appeals to Southern males (and, yes, even some females)? The thrill of the chase? Well, no, you generally sit and wait for the deer to come to you. The camaraderie? I’m told you’re not allowed to chit chat so as not to spook the deer. Does it really come down to the joy of killing animals? Isn’t that how most serial killers get started?

Diana: Goddess of the Hunt. >br> Photo by Wally Gobetz
Flickr Creative Commons

Best I can figure, deer hunting is about bragging rights. As if the number of points on the antlers of a man’s felled deer directly correlates to the size of his unmentionables. I mean, you don’t often hear about someone shooting a 5 pointer. No, they’re all aiming for 10 or even 12 pointers.

Also, there’s the matter of taxidermy. What deer hunter doesn’t aspire to display his trophy deer head for any and all to admire? Some even go so far as to use the poor creature’s paws as a gun rack. Hmm…collecting trophies of one’s victims…isn’t that another well-known serial killer trait? Or am I the only one who watches far too much Law & Order?

In hunting circles, a boy’s first kill is a rite of passage similar to a bar mitzvah…with a lot more blood and a lot less dancing. At the very least, the blood of the animal is smeared on the kid’s face. Some folks even go so far as to encourage the kid to drink the blood or take a bite of the heart. If this sounds barbaric, well, that’s because it is.

Photo by lobstar28
Flickr Creative Commons

Speaking of barbaric, when I worked as photographer for a small town Mississippi newspaper, I was tapped to shoot pictures of recently departed deer alongside a happy hunter. Usually, the deer’s tongue hung out of the side of its mouth, which I always imagined as a belated eff you. And in case you are wondering, yes, the newspaper occasionally ran the photos if it was a slow news week. Like there’s any other kind in Crystal Springs, MS.

Some argue that deer hunting is necessary to thin the herd. Sadly, that’s true. Ask anybody who’s smashed into one of Bambi’s kin as it unexpectedly dashes across the road. And if you live in the South, you know at least one, if not a dozen, folks who’ve experienced that particular trauma. But, hey, even if your car’s totaled, you still get free venison. And you wonder why everybody in the South has a deep freeze

Are you a hunter or more of a gathering type?

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60. Groom’s Cakes (Even the Ones in Poor Taste Still Taste Good)

20 Jan

Bee-u-ti-ful groom's cake
by maggie valley club

I just recently found out that groom’s cakes are a Southern thing. Here’s how it happened:

Me: What kind of groom’s cake are y’all having?

Bride, groom and everybody at the engagement party table: Huh?

What? People get married without a groom’s cake? Seriously? The bride gets the venue she wants, the flowers she wants, the music she wants, the photographer (and the 18 million pictures) she wants, the wedding cake she wants, and so on, and the groom can’t even get a lousy chocolate sheet cake?

C’mon people!

Supposedly, in the tradition’s early days, the groom’s cake wasn’t eaten at the wedding. Slices were packaged and sent home with single girls who would put them under their pillows to induce dreams of their future husbands. Right. Like a Southern single lady with post-wedding blues is going to let a perfectly good slice of cake go to waste? Never gonna happen.

These days, the cakes are tailored toward the grooms tastes and/or interests. I’ve never actually witnessed first hand a cake shaped like a Lazy Boy recliner, TV remote, or bottle of Jack Daniels, but surely they exist. As far as flavors go, well, they don’t go far: nearly every groom’s cake I’ve encountered was chocolate.

Steel Magnolias: The movie that launched
a thousand red velvet armadillos

“Steel Magnolias” features the beat-all, end-all groom’s cake: an armadillo-shaped confection featuring a red velvet interior. Yum!

I think the groom’s cake is an excellent addition to any wedding reception (but then my motto is “the more cake, the merrier”). However, clearly, not all grooms ought to have free reign at the bakery, as evidenced by the ill-conceived collection posted on cakewrecks.com.

Did you have a groom’s cake at your wedding? What kind?

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