The ‘Vegetarian or bust.’ post was born of a visceral reaction to the gruesome sincerity of slaughter, and a connection to my mother’s story of the headless chicken flailing about the barnyard. It was amusing because she would gloss over the butchering and bloodiness, thereby rendering it sterile and harmless.
It got me thinking about two things:
1.) This was an opportunity to connect to my mother’s experience. Since I can’t share the Amish chicken story with her–due to her advanced Alzheimer’s–sharing it with others was a small way to honor one of her memories.
2.) I’ve read that as a modern society, we are largely disconnected from our food sources. The Amish episode dealt with a young “English” woman wanting to join the order. Witnessing the slaughter of the chicken was a test. She passed the test; I would’ve flunked. Then puked.
Here’s another interesting example:
Recently on Oprah’s Next Chapter, she and her BFF Gayle King visited Paula Deen at her compound in Savannah. As you can imagine, there was a whole lotta good eatin’ that night, and in the mornin’, “we-uh gonna catch some catfeeish for breakfast, yawl.”
I give the gals a lot of credit for showing up–wearing baggy jammies, morning hair and no makeup–to handle raw liver bait and throw a line in Paula’s pond. Naturally, Oprah bagged the first and only one. (I imagine she’s so famous even that fish was dying to meet her.)
But here’s the real ‘catch’ of the day: she couldn’t handle the idea of killing and eating it. It was too personal. “It’s dying, it’s dying! Please, throw it back! Throw it back!” Cut to the gals eating biscuits while Paula deep fries catfish fillets. Which prompted Oprah to comment that she only wants to eat fish that has been neatly packaged.
Right. It no longer resembles a living thing.
I made this the other night, and I share it here because it’s delicious: Garlic Cheddar Chicken. And yes, it involves boneless, skinless chicken, which happily no longer resembles a living thing. I admit it: I’m relieved to be disconnected from the original source. What can I say? I am at one with modern living; as a toddler I was toilet-trained and have never looked back. In other words, and to quote Woody Allen, I am at two with nature.
However, I am not isolated from it, and am grateful for that. We live on roughly six acres of land that can be legally hunted in season and with permission. My husband Doug, his sons, and his best friends are deer hunters. This picture* was taken in our yard:
I took the picture. I’ll leave it at that for now.
*Doug’s friends. I hid their faces out of respect for their privacy.