Georgia Pellegrini did not write a book about hunting to prove she was tough, or to bridge the divide between foodie culture and rural America. Instead, the author of Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time wanted to know what it would take to spend a year eating only the meat she’d killed herself. She succeeded, and not just to woo Mark Zuckerberg, either. Girl Hunter tells a lively story of her time hunting and cooking wild boar in West Texas, turkeys in Arkansas, and ducks in the British countryside, just to name a few. And despite the mainstream Cooking Channel feel this book has on the surface (watch this trailer if you want to know what I mean), Pellegrini clearly has a genuine interest in seeing a larger structural shift to our food system. In the book, she writes:

People tell me, “I don’t think I could do it.” The good news is that you don’t have to. But if you want to feel what it is to be human again, you should hunt, even if just once. Because that understanding, I believe, will propel a shift in how we view and interact with this world we eat in. And the kind of food we demand, as omnivores, will never be the same.

We spoke with Pellegrini recently about the book, the role hunting can play in rural food systems, and the gender dynamic she experienced out in the field.

Q. What made you want to tell these stories about hunting?

A. I am a chef, so I look at it all through the lens of food. I grew up living off the land, with honeybees and chickens, and I fished and foraged a lot. But I didn’t hunt until after I became a chef. While I worked at Dan Barber’s restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns [located at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture], we were really hands-on with the ingredients — we did everything from collecting eggs, to working in the greenhouse, to killing turkeys.