My name is Hank Shaw. I write. I fish. I dig earth, forage, raise plants, live for food and kill wild animals. I drink Balvenie, Barolo or Budweiser with equal relish and wish I owned a large swath of land I could play on. I spend my days thinking about new ways to cook and eat anything that walks, flies, swims, crawls, skitters, jumps – or grows. I am the omnivore who has solved his dilemma. This is my story.
Honest food is what I’m seeking. I eat meat, and I’m not keen on factory farms, so I either hunt it myself or buy it from real people who raise animals humanely. Other than pork fat for charcuterie and the occasional octopus, I have not bought meat or fish for our home more than a handful of times since 2005. I am a constant forager, angler, hunter, gardener and fan of farmer’s markets, and eating locally and making good food from scratch is what I do. Seasonality rules my diet: In winter, I would rather eat a well-cooked turnip than asparagus from Chile.
I am especially interested in those meats and veggies that people don’t eat much any more, like pigeons or shad or cardoons. I have nothing against good grass-fed beef or a head of lettuce, it’s just that others are doing just fine writing about those foods. I’m trying to walk a less-traveled path.
Who the hell am I? I am a former line cook, I’ve caught fish and dug clams for a living and, after 19 years as a political reporter for newspapers ranging from New York to Virginia to Wisconsin, Minnesota and California, I now pay the bills writing about food, fishing, foraging and hunting. On occasion, I also cater events around Northern California and beyond.
As a food writer, my work has been published in Food & Wine, Organic Gardening, The Art of Eating, Field and Stream, Gastronomica, Edible Sacramento, Pheasants Forever magazine, Delta Waterfowl Magazine and several other publications. I was written up in the March 2009 issue of Field & Stream magazine for my wild game cookery, which was an honor.
I’ve been featured on a few TV shows, too. I’ve been on Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods America” twice, and have been on Steve Rinella’s “Meateater” and am a contributor to Scott Leysath’s “The Sporting Chef.”