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Jon & Aften Turner

woods2table
@woods2table

How long have you been cooking? 

Cooking, period? We’ve been cooking as long as we’ve been married, so about 15 years. We would usually take turns cooking dinner based on whoever had the time and energy after the workday. Since we both worked for much of the early part of our marriage, we had to find ways to cook quick and easy meals. Oh, you mean cooking wild game? About 4 years – but we’ve come further in terms of our range and culinary skills in the past 4 years than ever before and prepared some of the best meals of our lives! Cooking dinner used to be a chore assigned to whomever drew the short straw but became sort of a creative adventure as we researched new techniques and recipes for whatever wild game we’d harvested.

How did you get interested or introduced to cooking?

Jon: I was fortunate to have a great teacher. Growing up, my mom cooked 5-6 nights a week. Most of our meals looked like a thanksgiving spread. A lot of southern style, comfort food. We’re talking a stick-of-butter-every-night kind of food, ya’ll (but you know it was delicious). I learned by watching and my palate was trained by what I ate growing up. A lot of my recipes tend to mirror my upbringing, even though I rarely ate wild game as a child.
Aften: I really didn’t start cooking until after Jon and I got married, and I quickly realized I had a lot to learn! What I also realized as our family began to grow, is how much quality time is spent together in the kitchen. For me, that’s the best part. Learning together, trying new techniques, making mistakes and eventually figuring out how to make some fantastic meals.

What is your best food memory? 

That’s a tough one. Since we started cooking wild game, we’ve had so many great meals. A great meal involves so many of your senses, and your senses help create your memories. It’s hard to pick just one. If we had to choose – probably the first meal we prepared after our first successful whitetail deer hunt. The hunt was special in so many ways. Knowing what we know now, the meal was terrible. We had no idea what we were doing. For such a lean, wild meat – there are a lot of ways to do venison right, and a lot of ways to do it very wrong. This was the latter. It turned out dry, tough - but it didn’t matter. For us, this was the hunt and the cook that started it all. We discovered what would become our passion. That first meal was also before we discovered PS Seasoning; that would have helped.

What would you want as your last meal?

These are tough questions! Probably a wild game fondue with a variety of meats and home-grown vegetables, herbs and spices. So much about our lifestyle brings us closer to the food we eat. Preparing and eating the meal brings us closer together as we reflect on the experience. For our last meal, we’d want to use ingredients from as many of those experiences as we could and enjoy the time together for as long as we could. Wild game fondue is probably the best way to do that.

What dish/meal do you make on repeat?

Any meat in our sous vide cooker, typically seasoned with rosemary, salt and pepper, olive oil, and our favorite PS Seasoning. As you’ve probably figured out by now – we cook a lot of wild game in our house. Wild game is often very, very lean – so its easy to overcook. By cooking sous vide, we can take a lot of the guesswork and risk out of cooking lean meats. Sous vide is a very versatile and forgiving cooking style. Rotate the side dishes however you please – but don’t take away our sous vide cooker!

What is the most fun or embarrassing grilling or food story you have?

How about the time(s) that Jon almost burned down the house in a grease fire, and burned all the hair off his hands, forearms, and eyebrows? Yeah, that’s happened more than once.

Favorite PS product and why? 

Despite how wide a range we have in terms of the meat and meals that we prepare; this is an easy one. We’re going to cheat a little, though, and pick two. For meat, we love the Wild Game seasoning for its versatility. We’ve used it on venison, pork, chicken, duck, and more – and its never disappointed. When we’re in hiking or in camp, it’s the only seasoning we need in our packs to prepare a great meal. When it comes to seafood, we love Citrus Smash. It works well with salmon, trout, catfish, bream, cod, rockfish, halibut, shrimp – we’ve yet to find a seafood that it won’t improve. We’re all about versatility since we eat so many different things in our house, and when we’re on the go.

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