Stacy Harris of Alabama is an author, chef, mother and wife, yet she loves the outdoors and how it brings joy to her family. Harris talked with us for an I’m A Deer Hunter interview:
We last talked extensively a couple of years ago after your first book came out. It looks like you’re staying busy these days.
I am. It’s always balancing things around home and being busy with different things. I probably could write a blog post every day but I can’t because I’m only one person and can’t do it all, of course. There’s a lot going on! My schedule is always changing. I’m always trying to see what works and what doesn’t, and I’m trying to learn new things and do what I like.
What sparked you getting into writing your books and blogging for sites like Bonnie Plants (bonnieplants.com)?
“It was so difficult for me at first to learn to cook venison and make it taste as good as beef, but then I learned venison tastes better than beef because it has such a naturally good flavor. After I learned that, I realized it could be as tasty and flavorful and I wanted to share that with the world. I wanted to incorporate the freshest fruits and vegetables as well. At first I started going to the farmer’s market because I planted a garden and it failed. I started studying about gardening, like I did about the deer meat, like for heirloom vegetables and what hybrids did or didn’t do and the pros and cons, along with the health benefits, and just wanted to share that with other people.
“I think it’s like our homeschooling, too. I love sharing things with other people. Wives of hunters sometimes don’t like cooking venison and that’s like a knife in the gut to me. I want them to be able to, and especially when you can bring your garden to your table and enjoy the work of your hand. I try to write things that are really seasonal and people can eat together.”
What are some secrets to canning?
“I love telling people how to can their venison or collard greens or other things so they can enjoy them throughout the year. Heirloom vegetables are among the best things you can plant because the seeds are so easy to save and plant each year, and they adapt to your area. So they get better each year.
“Canning is so easy and I think that’s the biggest thing, to realize it is easy and you can do it. Tomatoes, for example, within 30 minutes you can have eight quarts of tomatoes done and finished. Our 13-year son old came in one day with some of the tons of tomatoes we had growing this summer and canned them before I knew it. And then you have it to enjoy. We’ve also pickled and fermented a lot of vegetables this year, and that wasn’t hard. I think a lot of these things are a lost art, things like having a smokehouse and canning and quilting. That makes me sad.”
Did you grow up country girl or city girl?
“No, I was the whole nine yards of a career path lady. Never even thought about putting my fingers in the dirt, an only child and spoiled. My grandmother, though, had cans and cans of stuff in her kitchen. I took it for granted. She was a widow and worked, but her food was the best I ever had in my life. Then I went to law school and thought that’s what I was going to do, but we had a baby and then more babies and that was the life I loved.”
Your boys and husband hunt, and you did a deer hunt for Destination Whitetail. How did that hunt go for you?
“I had fun and loved that camaraderie with nature that you get when you’re out there, and that feeling of being at one with nature. Plus you know where your food comes from. I really liked it, and I’m one of those people who just enjoy whatever I’m doing. To me there were so many neat things that happened.
“It’s interesting and you understand nature, and see what deer do in their own habitat. You’re respecting nature. I had a deer come up on my right, snort at me and then stomp the ground because he saw me. He was looking at me and I realized you can sort of communicate with these animals.
“I had a spike in the field and then I saw the big 10-point that I shot. It was almost like angels were singing. We had a quick hunt and it happened fast, so I’m spoiled now. I can understand how Scott and the boys enjoy being out there. Scott has such a passion for it.”