One day last October, hunter-forager-journalist-cookbook author Hank Shaw of Sacramento launched a campaign on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. He hoped to raise $30,000 to produce his self-published wild-game cookbook “Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Antelope, Moose and Other Antlered Things.”
By late afternoon, he had surpassed his goal. By the next day, 6,521 backers had pledged $41,248. “I’m floored, shocked and amazed,” Shaw said at the time.
Now the hardback cookbook (H&H Books, $30, 304 pages, with photographs by Holly A. Heyser) is out, just in time for deer-hunting season in California, and Shaw is poised for a six-month 45-state book tour. The finished product is so polished that it’s indistinguishable from any first-class cookbook from a traditional publishing house.
Shaw formed H&H Books with photographer-girlfriend Heyser and his sister, book designer Laura Shaw, for the in-house project. “We’re really proud of the book, but this whole process has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he said recently.
“We knew there were a bunch of known unknowns – that gives me heartburn anyway, because I’m kind of a control freak – but it was the unknown unknowns that really threw us,” he said. “I’m a writer and a cook. I’m not conversant in the language of the printing industry. (Also) there are some weird little monopolies in the business that shut you out if you don’t work with them.”
Catch Shaw at 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, at Yolo Brewing Co. in West Sacramento, where a food truck will serve bison burgers; and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7 at Nixtaco in Roseville, where he will cook wild venison.
Shaw’s conventionally published cookbooks are “Hunt, Gather, Cook” and “Duck, Duck, Goose.” Visit him at honest-food.net.