Killing For Food
I killed a chicken this week. Not for sport (I’m no Jeffery Dahmer). And it wasn’t an accident either. I killed it to eat it. Imagine that. To put food on the table, in the most ancient incarnation of that saying imaginable. Go out to nature, kill an animal, clean it, and cook it for my family. I tell you: I’m not cut out for this. Yet.
The killing was difficult, the whole taking a life thing. Last breaths, etc. Until now, I’d only ever killed and eaten fish, which is somehow different. But what really set me over the edge, made me question my manhood, made me crumble, was the cleaning part. There’s boiling water. There’s feathers. There’s blood, guts. Poop, even. I gave up. I ended up feeding the half-cleaned chicken to Marilyn, our golden retriever. (She loved it, BTW.) What a waste.
The takeaway was reinforcement of what people are documenting well lately: we don’t know shit about where our food comes from, so we put very little value on it. I threw away one chicken and was a hot mess—why am I not such a mess about the estimated one-third of food that gets wasted globally? Us westerners are so far removed from our food production process that we’re numb to the whole experience. Watch Netflix, they’ll tell you all about it. I want a burger, I go to Costco and there’s burger, nicely wrapped, and lacking any bloody mess. It’s convenient. It’s also a little lazy.
My redemption, what I look back on that gives me motivation, is my trip a few years back to Pichelimu. The waves were terrible, so we spent lots of time in our cabin out near the point, drinking probably too much Chilean wine and cooking. We were able to buy fish right from guys in the boats on the beach in front, and cook it whole on the fire right at our cabin. Caught right there, eaten right there, go to bed feeling fresh and clean. It’s something lots of us who have been lucky enough to travel have experienced, but it’s a good reminder on how it was, and maybe how it should be.
This isn’t a pulpit, I’m not here to preach. I’m just going to pay more attention. Learn more about where my meat and veggies comes from. Try to catch, dispatch, and butcher more of my own meat. I’m just going to try harder.