A Story and a Recipe

By Dorothy Johnson


The vestiges of fall are all around us.  Some sites, the browning grasses, the naked trees and the frosty mornings, are easy to recognize and remind us of what we have ahead of us. The commercialization of the coming holidays is evident in all of the stores. Fat turkeys are pictured with anxiety etched on their beaks, Christmas cards with jolly Santa Clauses are on display and holiday decorations abound. 

Other signs of fall and the holidays are more difficult to discern. At colleges nationwide co-eds are getting ready for final exams. In local high schools and elementary schools boys and girls are getting ready for the most dreaded season of all, basketball season. In addition to the stress of academics and athletics, young children and teenagers add the stress of the busy holidays, especially those young people from families that have been separated for whatever reasons.

Adults sometimes put a lot of pressure on their children when the holidays approach.  Both Mom and Dad want to see the kids on the holidays and they have to work out a schedule to keep things calm. As long as the parents are fixated on what they want and do not put any research into what the kids want, the holiday cheer may unravel very fast. 

Sometimes Moms and/or Dads who have spent very little time with the children all year, now are very specific in their plans for the kids on the holidays.  Maybe the parents are having pressure from the grandparents and are trying to please their elders. The reasons are irrelevant.  What matters is how the kids are treated with the added demands of the holiday season.

An adult from a separated family told me how every holiday was a special hell because of the demands of her separated parents. She loved all of her family, but every holiday she had to choose to please one and not the other.  Add to that stress of choosing between parents, the stress of pleasing grandparents and what you will find is a child who is anxious, miserable and frustrated, a child who is trying to please everyone, but knows that that goal cannot be reached.

Sitting beside this child that everyone wants for the holidays is the child that no one wants for the holidays.  Not every child in our local area can expect Christmas presents or a hot meal for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Charitable organizations try to cover the bases for these kids, but no one can take away the feeling s of being alone or unwanted or unnoticed.  Kids know if someone cares about them or if someone does not care about them. We wonder why our young people turn to harmful drugs or alcohol and some of us say, “It was that kid’s choice to use.”  That is true.  It was that kid’s choice, but it is important that we adults acknowledge that when the happy holiday season arrives, not everyone’s heart is singing, “Ho. Ho. Ho.”

This is not meant to be a sermon.  It is just a hint at being aware that not everything is the wonderful, happy season we see on the Christmas shows.  Not every situation works out to be a “happily ever after” ending. All of us need to be cognizant that things are not always what they seem.

Now that deer hunting season is in full swing, I thought I would research some venison recipes for those hunters lucky enough to shoot a deer or for those cooks in the house that get to deal with the meat.  This is an easy slow cooker recipe that everyone in the family will like.  If the vegetable called for is not one of your favorites, feel free to substitute for it. The recipe is called Hunter’s Delight and it especially calls for venison. The recipe makes eight servings.


Hunter’s Delight


One-half pound sliced bacon, diced

Two and one-half pounds of red potatoes thinly sliced

Two medium onions, sliced

One and one-half pounds boneless venison steak, cubed

Two cans (14 and three-quarters ounces each) cream-style corn

Three tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

One teaspoon sugar

One-half to one teaspoon salt

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp; drain. Place potatoes and onions in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Top with venison and bacon. In a large bowl, combine the corn, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and seasoned salt; pour over the top. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat and potatoes are tender.