Friday, November 30, 2007

Slaughtering a young dejected chicken and later, Thanksgiving Turkey

I killed my first chicken on Oct. 13th, quite a while ago, and subsequently killed my first turkey on the Friday after Thanksgiving so that us volunteers could eat turkey on that Saturday. We worked on Thursday, since we could not afford to take a day off during model school.
I was distressed by the way this chicken glared around, as though it were morbidly depressed, with eyes that reminded me of the kid that gets picked on in grade school. This was a pure white chicken for market, raised for meat. It hardly struggled for its life because its life had been so meaningless. I’d much rather it were one of the free roaming chickens that walk around Namaacha scratching where they please trying to stir up something nice for their chicks.
I had seen a couple of chickens slaughtered in the days before and so I had a pretty good idea of how it works:
1. grab young chook by the shoulders and pin wings together, can be carried like his with one hand
2. when ready to slaughter, other hand holds feet together
3. lay chook on its side and stand on its feet with one foot
4. other foot on chook’s wings
5. one hand holds back the head so as to expose the neck well, other hand saws with dull knife
6. once you’re through the air canal and the neck is snapped and nerves are severed, you can either take head off completely or let the rest hang there.
7. after the first bunch of blood comes out, hold chook upside down by feet and let the rest of the blood drain out.
8. give it to mom so that she can do the dirty work, which involves
a. soaking the bird in hot water so that the feathers can be pulled out easily
b. cutting a hole in birds abdomen just above anus to drag out entrails, including heart, stomach (which can be eaten after the contents are removed), intestines (whose contents are removed by pinching and squeezing out one end), liver (figaro), lungs
c. cut out and remove anus
d. wash bird again inside and out
e. we eat the chicken feet relatively often, you take off the leathery outer skin and cook what remains, the meaty part of the palm is delicious

As for the Thanksgiving turkey, there was a mishap as while I was sawing someone in the small crowd of other PCTs said they could still hear the turkey screaming even though I was sure I was through the airway and already heard the neck snap, so I took the whole head off. Just picture how long a turkey neck is. Once the head was off, the neck recoiled and started shooting the blood over its back instead of out straight. The PCT who I’ve had a crush on for a while was helping by standing on the wings, she got sprayed with turkey blood from the knee down, it was ugly. We have pictures of it, which I hope to share eventually.
The next day, the family we entrusted the birds to told us that they had moved them from the fridge to a freezer about 1/3 a mile away. WHY!!?!?! So Thanksgiving was delayed a few hours while we soaked the birds but eventually one of them made it into the oven while another made it into a stew and everyone at the party, 35-40 people, really liked the turkey. Everyone brought food, it was a great time and reminded me of Thanksgivings at home.

No comments: