By Marj Watkins, as told to Suzanna Leigh
“Oh Mom, venison again?!”
When I was growing up during the depression, eating all of my meals at home, breakfast was usually oatmeal mush with sugar and milk. We didn’t look forward to it, but when you are hungry, you eat whatever is presented. If we didn’t have that, we had rice for breakfast with milk and sugar. Not very nourishing. But sometimes we had fried venison. If you shoot a deer in season, you have latitude on how you eat it, but if you just got the deer out of season and got very quiet about it, you might give some pieces to the poor. You tell them, “Don’t tell anyone I gave this to you.” You have to do what you can to survive.
One day, two policemen came to our house. They said, “We have been given a tip that Howard Brunson has been poaching venison.”
“Oh dear, who would do that?” My mother trembled. “Isn’t that illegal?”
The policemen could see the little kids playing on the floor and thought, “This man has got to feed his family,” so they said, “Well, we’ll just not say any more about that, but we will have to check back and be sure you are only eating legitimate meat.” Then they went away.
My mother said, “Thank God they didn’t go look in the woodshed. There was a dead deer hanging there.”
After that, my dad always took pillowcases for the deer meat and butchered the deer that he killed on site. He put it in the back of the car and put something over it.
He always knew where to find the deer because he planted food that the deer liked, to help them make it through the winter.
These days, I eat granola with yogurt on top and an orange. This gives me protein, vitamin C and other vitamins, and lots of flavor. This granola is made by my son, Steve Watkins. It is especially delicious and nourishing.
Into a very large mixing bowl, put:
1/2 of a large box of Old Fashioned Oats
Oil enough to moisten (olive oil works well)
1/2 cup honey (try to get raw honey from an Island neighbor, or local raw honey from Rich Osborne)
1 tsp salt
Raw nuts to taste (crushed cashews or walnuts, a handful of sunflower seeds)
Optional: almond or coconut extract
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment and spread out the granola mixture on it. Bake to a golden color, not brown, stirring occasionally.
Remove granola from the oven and stir in golden raisins or craisins. Cool and store in a large jar. This can keep for a long time, but in our house it goes into our tummies fairly quickly.