Over the weekend, when my parents and I went to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner, I brought along a food item to share. Here’s a picture:
Can you guess what it is?
Here’s some more information and hints:
- I know if looks like cat food. It is not cat food. It is intended for human consumption.
- I did not make it myself. It was canned, and I opened the can, and inverted it onto a plate.
- I picked it up when I was in Sweden last summer.
Would another picture help? Here’s a piece of it on a cracker. My aunt Annie is the hand model. Nicely done, Annie!
Any guesses? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
It’s Reindeer Pate.
Where else have I seen the word ‘Renpate’ before? Oh yeah, it’s this woman’s name. I wonder if Ren Pate has ever eaten Renpate.
I bought the Renpate at the airport in Stockholm as I was leaving the country, for two reasons: 1) I love trying new things, and 2) I wanted to spend the remaining krona (Swedish currency) I had in my wallet so I didn’t have to deal with exchanging it back into dollars. I also bought a couple packages of jerky that was made from reindeer and elk, and I ate that soon after getting home, and apart from being incredibly salty, it tasted like other types of jerky, although perhaps a touch gamier. That jerky was the first time ever I’ve eaten deer of any kind (although, since then, I’ve had venison at Coach Insignia, a great restaurant in Detroit)!
And now I can add reindeer pate to the list of things I’ve tried. I only ate two pieces, each about the size of what Annie’s holding in the second picture, and, well, I didn’t love it, and I didn’t hate it, but I don’t need to eat it again. I’m not much of a pate eater in general, so I can’t tell you if I didn’t like it because of how it was prepared, or if it was the reindeer, although I’m inclined to think that it wasn’t the reindeer, because gamier meats don’t turn me off. My mom could definitely tell there was liver in the pate (we checked the ingredients list, and sure enough, reindeer liver was listed), so I was impressed with her palette, and my cousin thought it tasted just like Spam, which I’ve never tried before. My only thoughts on the pate was that I had assumed that pates were a little smoother that this was – this was almost meat-loafy in texture, and wasn’t very spreadable, which is another characteristic I associate with pate. It didn’t taste bad, but, again, I wasn’t ready to shout from the rooftops.
Since this is a health-focused blog, it would be great if I could share the nutritional value of the reindeer pate, but I can’t, as it wasn’t listed on the package. They did have an ingredients list, though (in English as well as in Swedish), and the primary ingredients were reindeer, pork, and reindeer liver.
I don’t like leaving you all empty-handed, so I researched reindeer meet in general, and found it to be a pretty healthy red meat option. Reindeer meat, when compared to beef, is low in fat and calories: 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of reindeer has 107 calories and 2 grams of fat, whereas sirloin has 230 calories and 12 grams of fat. A leaner cut of beef, like round tip, is still over 3 times fattier than reindeer – it has 186 calories and 7 grams of fat.
And here’s an interesting article tracing reindeer consumption in the U.S. Did you know that reindeer aren’t native to North America, but were brought to Alaska from Russia in the 1800s as a source of red meat for Eskimos? I had no idea. The article also talks about how, in the late ’20s, reindeer was poised to become a major competitor to beef across the country, until the depression killed off all interest in anything even slightly more expensive than beef. The reindeer market never recovered, because by the time the depression ended, the story of Rudolph had been introduced and taken off (pardon the pun), endearing reindeer in the hearts of children and families everywhere.
I don’t eat much red meat. Before sampling the reindeer pate, it had probably been a few weeks, at least, since the last time I had some (I can’t even remember, to be honest). But I’d be interested in trying reindeer again, although not in pate form. You could give reindeer a try, too – check out these websites for reindeer sausage, jerky, or chops and steaks (although they’re currently sold out of everything).
I’m writing this just minutes before heading to bed… and in the morning, I’ll be having my weigh-in. I hope to break this plateau and lose the pound that I gained a few weeks ago. I’ve had a good week, so it may just happen!
Keep it up, David!