Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Hm, before Mary posted this I’d never even considered that someone old enough to talk wouldn’t know “Meat is made from animals.” After reading this story, and the one linking to it, it begins to sound normal. I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I did grow up in a restaurant — so maybe my world was different. After all, in butchers and the like it’s normal to see very animal-like carcasses hanging around, literally. But even thinking of the humble whole chicken found in most shops, how can anyone mistake that as something that wasn’t once walking around? Then again, I’m not four years old.

Maybe it’s an American, land of plastic food, thing? Or a city thing? But even in Sydney the animalness of meat seems clear. In inner Sydney butchers (the good ones) carcasses are hanging, and chicken feet are on display (OK, maybe western Sydney for the latter).

I call beef “cow” and pork “pig” and have for a very long time I think. We had laying hens back home and the link to what was on our plates was unmistakable, I’d have thought. Only once did we try to eat one of our own chickens… that was mostly because I wanted to. I killed it and, IIRC, plucked it (Mum might have) and Mum cleaned it. It was baked but, while tasty, turned out to be rather tough. His name was “Elvis”. My sister was rather upset, you see, I killed the wrong rooster. I killed the one she’d named. (But she never went vego!)

We didn’t try to repeat this experiment with other excess roosters I killed. They fertilised the occasional lucky tree. One rooster had to be killed twice, I stuffed up the first attempt. For the brief period between his killings this rooster was dubbed Lazarus. This is the time I learnt that it was better to use the axe than try to break the neck (there’s a technique to that that I didn’t know at the time). In a note of defence, to the person keeping laying hens roosters are an inconvenience, one is OK (you need a succession after all) but they can be mean to the hens and are noisy.

I hope that in the future I have the chance to do it properly. I’m better informed now, I know that a rooster as old as the one we roasted (in it’s second year) isn’t right for roasting, but is good for, say, Cock-au-Vin.

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