If you would have visited me nine years ago you would not have seen this. I was a vegetarian then, and still have vegetarian thoughts now and again, but mostly I love cooking and I like eating meat. It’s not an easy issue is it?
So my vegetarian heart is now turning around, probably with a few too many episodes of River Cottage and a few too many amazing recipes and with the building of a relationship with a local organic farmer.
Could I slaughter my own animal? Probably not. Do I think that it’s ironic that as I walk out of the farm store door with my first fresh farm chicken of the year, one comes around the corner and runs across the driveway in front of me? Certainly, and I cannot help anthropomorphising that this certain chicken is thinking “My God, I have to get out of here as quick as my little legs can carry me”.
But I do know if I am going to eat meat, it is nice to have this farm down the way, where I see the animals, roaming in the sunshine, eating grass and bugs and spreading their wings or legs and that they were treated lovingly and with deep respect while they were here with us.
And when I made this chicken Sunday night. The herbs slid nicely under the skin, the meat was flavorful and tender and the girls got a lesson as we finished and I picked through the carcass preparing for stock and chicken pot pie later in the week.
I didn’t feel at all queasy ripping off the legs and the wings. The girls were fascinated by all the bits. What part is this Mommy? That’s the leg bone where it’s foot would have been. OH, it’s the ankle, the wing, the neck. And then the ultimate prize, the realization that not only does a turkey have a wishbone, so does a chicken. And so it sits drying out on my windowsill.
(Mr. Chicken, night two, in my Grandmother’s birthday pot pie.)
I feel so lucky that we live where we do and we have access to local, fresh organic food. I may be wrong about the meat eating thing. It runs against my buddha nature. We still are trying two-three vegetarian meals a week. I may change my mind. My girls may decide against it.
That will be okay. In the meantime, I’m lucky.
Because I have a farmer. A real farmer.
How lucky is that?