Unrelated to the meat or the animal, I am author Leslie Ann Miller, and I am highly motivated by what I think of as “food fun” and adventure. A former vegetarian of twelve years, now a stalwart meat eater who cures sausages in her basement fitness room. Writer, editor, wife, and mother of two children in a hectic West Coast urban environment.
Youngest brother of my mother. Formerly in the dairy business, now a Western Washington farmer who raises a host of row crops as well as beef cows.
Oldest daughter of Uncle Dave. Wife and mother of three who raises pumpkins, cattle, and other crops as a large-scale “hobby.” A rural lady of strong opinions and droll wit who finds “urban hippie back-to-the-landers,” including Cousin Lam, mildly amusing.
Husband of Cousin Kate and father of three. Amiable veterinarian with a focus on large animals, who works in his practice with Western Washington farmers. Probably also finds his Cousin-in-Law Lam entertaining in her urban naivete, but is too diplomatic to say so.
The Farm Children
Jackson, Margarite, and the Pterodactyl Baby, children of Cousin Kate and Jason. Find their urban second cousins’ lifestyle—including not waking early for chores and lack of cattle knowledge—both intriguing and silly.
Youngest of my three older brothers, dubbed a “guncle” or “gun uncle” by my children (this is a compliment). Formerly in the restaurant industry. Also motivated by “food fun” but more mindful of food costs and practicality than his sister. Conservative outdoorsman and hunter of game birds. A pivotal date with the woman who would become his wife included butchering pigs.
My middle brother. Foodie of more epicurean tastes, can still be coaxed into sausage-making sessions and suturing Turduckens. The closest he comes to hunting is buying Italian leather shoes.
My oldest brother, cherished guncle and avid outdoorsman, fisherman, and hunter of birds, deer, and elk. Dentist by day. Longtime devotee of Grand Sausageman Rytek Kutas. Has a smoker jerry-rigged out of an old refrigerator in his backyard. Can be easily swayed into “food fun” participation.
My youngest son. Seven-year-old who finds sauces suspicious but loves goat meatballs. Lactose intolerant and temporarily diagnosed with gluten and egg allergies as well. Enthusiastic endorser of the whole animal lifestyle. Learned to read in part from retrieving meat packages from the downstairs freezer:
My oldest son. Adventurous eater, save any meat that exhibits a shred of skin, fat, bone, tendon, or gristle. Seems to enjoy cheese even more since his brother is unable to eat it. Favorite whole-animal activity might be grinding meat through the KitchenAid attachment.
Left-brained software engineer who ranges from bemusedly supportive to completely put out by my perceived “food fun,” especially by the sausage hanging above his skis. Even so, an enthusiastic sausage eater. Participation includes buying cookbooks and Cabela’s food-processing gadgets for his wife. Got excited about building a curing chamber, though, once he learned it required a computer fan motor and hygrometer.
Remington and Robert Gregory
Bloodhound and black-and-tan coonhound, respectively. Large and naughty enough to collaboratively snatch a low-hanging skein of curing sausages. (Lack of consequent death did, however, provide evidence against the presence of botulism.) Eager endorsers of the whole-animal lifestyle, especially the cooking of bone-in meats that they might enjoy after the people are through.