Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Cock I Refused to Eat

Sometimes we put things in our mouths that we really shouldn’t. Come on, you know what I am talking about. We have all done it, whether you were 5 years old at the time or in your thirties. Sometimes the curiosity of something not normally considered palatable overrides reason and the allure of human curiosity takes over and before you know it you have snacked on something that, in retrospect, leaves you disgusted.
I must admit that I am not the most adventurous person when it comes to experimenting with bizarre foods especially food with which I have an emotional connection. This is one of the only aspects in my life that I do consider myself to be somewhat, dare I say it, full of shit.

Yet, when I was 5 years old I once snacked on a dog pellet and by the age of 10 I chewed on a dog vitamin. Thirteen was a good year for “insect dares” and during that year I ate both an earthworm and a moth and recently, I am dreading to admit, tasted one of my cats’ vitamin snacks. Why did I do it? No I was flying in KooKoo Ville I was just curious, that’s why. But sometimes we find ourselves in culinary situations that challenge our personal biases.
When I was a child my sister and I use to have many pets. The one I most vividly remember was a rooster we called Andre. Andre was one bad tempered, domineering and spiteful cock who hated humans and especially despised children. Every time my sister and I would be within 10 meters of him, he would get this psychotic look in his beady little eyes and storm us forcing us to flee screaming to the safety of the house while being kicked, pecked and bitch slapped by our poultry nemesis.

One day when my sister and I returned home from our after-school activities, we were surprised when we entered our backyard. It was ominously quiet – no psychotic cock insight. It wasn’t until I sat down for dinner that I realized why our rooster from hell didn’t, yet gain, surprise us with another unprovoked violent ambush.
As my mom presented the roast chicken to the dinner table it was soon clear something was amiss. The chicken on the plate looked different to what I was accustomed to, yet there was something perplexingly familiar. You see the chicken had the same build as our beloved Andre. Could this be? I pondered worryingly. Not being one shy away from difficult issues, even at that age, I braved the question. “Is this our pet cock... is this Andre... did you... kill him?

Our parents profusely denied this, so naturally my sister and I carefully and curiously made our way the chicken coop and lo and behold, Andre was missing! Returning to the dinner table we confronted our parents to which they reluctantly admitted that the perfectly roasted chicken was indeed our malevolent and now deceased and well basted pet rooster Andre. Now shocked and slightly devastated we were faced with our dead pet for dinner and neither my sister nor I had the stomach to devour our former friend, nemesis and tormentor.
Our parents tried their utmost to persuade us to at least try a piece, after all we eat chickens from the store, so why was this any different. “Free range chicken is healthier for you anyway” they said. “Remember Kentucky Fried Chicken pieces also once were somebody’s Andre and you still like KFC don’t you?” they said. “Andre tormented you, hurt you and it was time to get rid of that damn rooster so we may as well eat him” they said.

In retrospect my parents can be damn lucky that I didn’t turn vegetarian there and then! I mean honestly who looks at their pets I thinks about eating them? The difference was that I didn’t personally know the other chickens before they became chicken mcnuggets, I didn’t name them and I didn’t consider them my pets. Needless to say both my sister and I had hot dogs for dinner that night, chicken wasn’t served in our house for well over a month and all of our other chickens (Betsy, Hen and Leila) died of old age.

The demise of Andre didn’t really teach me the lesson I suppose my parents intended at that time; at the age of 7 I was not really ready to face the hard facts of where our food really comes from. In my mind I refused to make the connection between the steak on my dinner plate and the cow crazing carelessly in the field, the chicken patty on my burger and the other Andre’s of the world. If I didn’t personally know the cow my piece of steak came from it was fine eating it, after all we didn’t fight our way to the top of the food chain to starve, now did we?!
As I matured I have come to appreciate the cycle of life with much gratefulness that I never grew up on a farm. Now I pay more thought to what I put in my mouth, where what I am eating comes from and whether the animals were treated with care and dignity.

My experience with Andre also provided me with a deeper understanding and respect for where vegans and vegetarians are coming from (maybe they too had an Andre in their lives). The delicious smell of Andre’s perfectly roasted body and the image of his elongated drumsticks still haunt me to this day, but not enough to have completely put me off cock. Rest in peace our little cock Andre.

Till next time.

Queer Duck - "I'm Coming Out!"

4 comments:

Jewel said...

I can't say I blame you for refusing to eat that meal. I would have done the same.

Pierre said...

Jewel, I will never eat anything I gave a name, that's just wrong!

L. Avery Brown said...

OMG that is so damn funny. When I was 7 I moved into a house way out in the country and our neighbors were big time farmers...crops, cows, chickens, etc... I will never forget the time I saw Mrs. Kirk running around the chicken coop trying to catch one of their hens. And when I saw her snatch one up and then, with a quick flip of her wrist, wring its neck, I nearly fell over.

Sure I knew they slaughtered their own animals but GEEZ! She looked at me, waved the thing triumphantly in the air, and said, "So, you want to help me pluck her?"

And I, thought as quickly as I could at about the age of 9 (thank God, I was bright) and said, 'Um, sorry, I've gotta go...to...church in a minute, Mrs. Kirk.' Whereupon she replied, 'Well, Sweet Jesus, girl...get on home!' (The church angle ALWAYS worked when I needed to make a quick get away. I suppose the Kirks thought I was the most damn religious kid they'd ever met!) EWWWHH, I'm so not into 'kill, klean, kook'!

Pierre said...

L. Avery Brown, LOL! I'm glad the Kirks weren't my neighbors. Luckily I didn't also witness the wringing of Andre's neck - that would have been too much to handle for me.

Related Posts with Thumbnails