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Michael McLain, age 10, of Cheshire, Ore., for his question:

WHY IS DEER MEAT CALLED VENISON?

It does seem rather strange, doesn't it, to call deer meat "venison" when no special name is given to other game which is hunted.  The word venison came from the French word venesoun and in the olden days it was used to describe the flesh of any edible animal killed by hunting, especially a boar, hare or deer. In fact the name was also used to describe the flesh of game birds.

Now the name venison is restricted to the flesh of an animal of the deer family.

The experts, by the way, say that venison is best when it comes Cfrom an animal that is plump, forest fed and at least five years old.  The meat is also improved by hanging it for a time in a cool, airy place.

 

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