Standing with Diane Lepage in front of a beautiful deer at the Domaine de l'étoile I realized that all this wandering was becoming less and less random. Before raising deer she was a hospital nutritionist in Rimouski. I was not surprised. Standing beside Diane Lepage I not only felt oddly cared for but stronger. There is a type of energy in certain people which inspires us, strengthens our convictions, reaffirms a humane quality which we find difficult to define or express. Nevertheless we often return to this figure in times of doubt as a support. Standing beside this type again I found a harmony to the universe which otherwise is more often on the side of chaos and the absurd. In fact, this was less about manifesto than a simple validation of values.
In 1996 they bought their first 10 head of deer. This was in addition to the dairy farm they had. Eventually finding the work load difficult, she asked her husband if he had to choose between the two which would it be. Deer he said. Little by little they shifted away from dairy and then came the kiosk, the butcher shop, and now approximately 400 head of deer fed with the wheat and grain that they grow on their land.
I buy some liver and marrow bones which they sell as soup bones, but I saw a beautiful dish of deer os a moelle which I had never tried before.
Deer os a moelle
soak os a moelle in salty cold water for 24 hours.
remove from water (the salt helps in two ways. It gives taste to the marrow, and also leaches some of the blood which turns grey upon cooking.)
cover each os a moelle with a little fleur de sel and roast in over at 450F for appox 10 minutes. All depends on the size of the bone, the marrow etc...This is really one of those easy recipes that you throw yourself into and learn as you go, so pay attention!
For some reason sitting and watching the deer eating I was thinking about Unit 731, this 6 square kilometer of covert biological and chemical warfare research center built by the Japanese army between 1937 and 1945. Some of the most grotesque human experimentation and invention of weapons of mass destruction was invented here. Everything from infection a victim with bubonic plague and vivisecting them without anesthesia and removing their organs to see the effects of the disease, to distributing food infected with disease to unsuspecting populations and then observing the effects of such a live experience. This included even the infected candy for children. It is no wonder that a book like 1984 could have been written with such intensity by a writer who is not considered an overall great writer. Acts of freezing victims limbs to observe the long term effects until they rotted and dropped off their body was not uncommon. This in fact is shocking until we further find out that the head of most of these projects were given immunity by the United States in one form or another. Not that anyone had any illusion about freedom and democracy, but...let us all try to think a little further. This is something we are suppose to let slide lightly in the name of comfort. Unfortunately the reverse is happening. Humanity is extreme. Being at their farm I realized that this quiet moment was fenced by the world, and everything in it was in fact volatile. It is not that food is political per se, because it has always been, but rather it risks becoming a dull way of asserting ones identity. In the sense that it becomes more about a passing trend than an actual culture, but we know the course of this argument.....
So sitting there in front of the deer why would unit 731 become relevant? I don't know. I was thinking about how even after such atrocities the heads of the Unit were given refuge by the United States instead of taken to a war crimes court. This repetition of human folly will unfortunately always undermine honesty and truth. Perhaps also that I instinctively felt that these were people raising the deer would protect those of dissension, that there was some alignment of values that suddenly took place, as opposed to manifesto, values which have been repeating themselves for centuries....Here at the farm I don't imagine the Vegetarian blowing up a turkey in a supermarket, no, I picture Emperor Hirohito here at le Domaine de l'étoile farm watching everything and I am confronted with something more than a simple dilemma of food politics. Hirohito was seen as a god, no, as God. Everyone attached to him were in some way the chosen people. The rest of the world were obviously considered inferior. These are the conditions in which Unit 731 could be created. Sitting there in front of the deer I realize how fragile our assumptions are, because with so many potential new Gods fluttering about, ready to release the next surge of purging we in a sense cannot be so short sighted as something that food alone will speak our minds. Just as in a strange way the chicken, pig and beef has taken over the North American mind and debate, therefor dominate the debate, and our diet, this simplistic approach to the world, this sort of crowding of attention may in fact be distracting us from that which is really important. Sitting here I realize that this place has always existed, these type of people will always be there, and we will in fact always find each other and no matter how temporary, support each other in whatever way, which I understood was not necessarily economic.