I cut up a whole chicken.
I KNOW! I can't believe I got over my Meat Squimishness either. But, the whole chicken cost $3.58 and the chicken breasts were over $7, so I thought I'd give it a try. I had to do something to make up for the fucking $5 bag of flour!
I surprised myself. Not only did I cut up the chicken without gagging, puking, whimpering or crying, I even enjoyed it a little. I liked feeling that little body and exploring the joints and muscles with my hands. It was exciting to see just how the hell this thing was put together, how the joints moved. I felt a tiny thrill upon seeing where the curve of the muscle hinted at where to start the cut, where to guide the knife through the joints. I felt connected.
When I started, it looked like a chicken. It looked like an animal. It wasn't a pale mystery blob that I didn't understand. It still had enough definition that I could almost imagine what it looked like with its feathers. And neck and head. I could imagine the legs and wings moving, using those joints.
Instead of feeling sad as I expected, I felt grateful. And determined not to waste any of this little body that had been offered to me.
I felt with even more urgency than normal that human and animal well being are connected. The only thing that made me sad was knowing that most likely those movements I imagined didn't happen as this little guy was probably in a small, small cage for his short life.
Again, I was surprised by my reaction.
The temperature was over 55 degrees today! Only a couple stubborn remnants of last week's drifts remain and most of the road is dry. The wind today -- and, oh, there was wind -- was warm, not cold. Such a different sensation. Such a welcome sensation.
So, to celebrate, A. grilled up the breasts (or what once was a breast but was more like a pile of mutilated, shapeless meat), thighs, wings and drumsticks. All the pieces but the breasts came out looking quite like how they began. I just really struggled figuring out what to do when it came time to deal with the breasts and back. Cut where? Bend what until it cracks? Give me some joints, those I can deal with. Apparently!
I saved the rest of the chicken to make homemade chicken noodle soup tomorrow night. It will be the perfect meal for the cold, snowy night in the forecast.
My great-grandma -- even my grandma -- would be so proud that I took my own hands to our food. My great-grandma could cut up a chicken in a couple of minutes, flat. My grandma, too. I wish my great-grandma was still around so I could write her a letter about it. My longing for her company never seems to lessen.
One step further removed from processed food. I think I am hooked. I am so pleased.
Also, I met a fear head on. That is always kind of awesome, regardless of how small or how silly the fear.
So, what is your favorite piece? Drumstick, wing or thigh? I guess I am for the whole chicken.