Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chicken Tonight!

Roosters crowing from 2 am on full moon nights don’t endear you to your neighbours. Our girls hatch out one clutch of fertile eggs each year and there are usually one or two boys in the bunch. This year’s biggest boy was a handsome Rhode Island Red crossbreed that we carefully avoided naming beyond ‘that bloody rooster.’

Him watching me

As we eat meat, it seems right that we should participate in the processes that bring it to our table. The full moon antics meant ‘the deed’ could not be put off any longer. The boys were caught as they roosted and placed in a secure box to calm down overnight. Come the morning, things didn’t go as planned. We were in a hurry, snappy with each other and just wanting the business over with. The first rooster turned out to be a laying hen, sadly discovered after the deed. Then I cut my finger due and had to rush off halfway through gutting for a band aid while wondering if I could catch chook flu.

Later, as I packed the birds into freezer bags I realised we had forgotten to honour them. It has been a tradition since we dispatched our first roosters that we talk to them, praise and thank them for giving us food. These poor creatures had been shown little respect in their final hours, becoming just an annoying chore in a busy day and one had died an unnecessary death due to our unawareness.

The following day, I prepared a full roast dinner from our big boy, laid the table and lit candles and we gave him a loving send off. The remaining white meat was made into risotto for dinner and the carcass boiled down for stock. Today we ate chicken soup and froze two extra serves.

Maybe I am too sentimental about my animals. It is my nature to be respectful towards all creatures and give thanks for my rich life and full belly. I knew that rooster, watched him hatch and grow what he ate and his personality. It didn’t stop me killing and eating him when necessary.

Happy girls

I believe that if more of us took the time to become more responsible for and aware of our food sources and show them respect, there would be less consumption of meat in faceless packages and we would waste less of what we do eat.

1 comment:

  1. Wow.. does really put things into perspective good piece ma!


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