Modern Pioneering

Georgia Pellegrini is the new frontierswoman—rugged, savvy, scrappy and smart.
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Apr 16, 2014 | By Matthew Ankeny

Take the skills of Martha Stewart, cloak them in the earthiness of Rohan Anderson, then toss them in a field with Jim Shockey, and you’re getting close to the axis where urbanite frontier woman Georgia Pellegrini resides.

Pellegrini hunts her dinner with guns. She makes tables out of tree stumps. And, sometimes when she’s in the mood, she garnishes cakes with rose petals. Her new book, Modern Pioneering, is a guide to everything handy, rustic and delicious. For the lady in your life (or, hell, I find it pretty handy myself), this is your gritty, off-the-grid, pioneering guide.

I first crossed Pellegrini’s path when I heard about her hunting trips. She takes girls to the field, kills dinner with them, then cooks up delicious meals around a wood-fired hearth (or similar cooking source). A standard itinerary includes: clay shooting, falconry, fly fishing, bird hunting, ATV riding, cooking, and—of course—mechanical bull riding. 

Where can I sign up.

The bad news is: I can’t. No dudes allowed. Good news is, the next special surprise for your lady is locked. Pellegrini is grooming the women of our dreams, one wilderness adventure and eggplant carpaccio at a time. Small gift: book. Big gift: adventure.

So let’s talk Modern PioneeringThe pages are full of what Pellegrini’s been up to, which amounts to, mostly: hunting, gathering, cooking and crafting. She’s a classically-trained chef from NYC’s culinary world set loose upland hunting (Michelin stars meet shotgun shells). She lives by maxims like, “the only way we truly know where our meat comes from is if we hunt it ourselves.” Agreed—you go girl.

Here’s a few highlights from the 150 helpful self-sufficiency “pioneer life” skills: preserving with alcohol, beer-battered jalapeño chips, guerrilla gardening (with “seed bombs”), a wild mint and dark chocolate milkshake, the Austin-inspired jalapeño-bacon michelada, duck breast prosciutto, how to change a tire, and the ever handy watermelon keg.

While the book was on display at home, I repeatedly wrestled it away from the nimble fingers of the lady. It’s gotten more coffee shop compliments than my Bible-sized Infinite Jest. And while the book’s clear on its line—it caters to the women folk—I walked away with a mild disappointment it wasn’t for guys. Because really, at end of the day, I want to be like Georgia. A recent post to her website:

“I am about to embark on a hunting spree. Elk in Wyoming, Javelina in El Paso, Pheasant in South Dakota, Partridge in England, Snowshoe Rabbit in Alaska, Squirrel in… where should I hunt squirrel? I hear they really know how to do it in Kentucky.”

Meet you in the bluegrass, Ms. Pellegrini. I’ll do my best to keep up.

Images ©: 1. T. Kristian Russell; 2, 3, 5, 7: Georgia Pellegrini; 4, 6  Jennifer Livingston (via NYT).