Friday, 17 February 2012

Food for thought - WARNING, content may upset

I know this blog is about life with my grand-daughter and what is more important than what you put on the table to eat.  We try to be as self sufficient as is possible living on top of a 'hill' (yes there ARE hills in Norfolk!) where the wind is so strong it obliterates the ploytunnels in seconds.  We eat seasonally and locally, except for the obvious i.e. exotic fruits and sweet potatoes; and for a lonnnnnggg time ate only veggies and game.  Veggies because we grew them and game because it had had a natural life and a clean death.

Brutus has his forever home
As it drew closer to Christmas I decided that maybe we should rear our own pork for (this year's) Christmas ham.  And bacon.  And sausages. We were very kindly given a goose by some dear friends, so we'll also be rearing one of those for the Christmas table this year.  It was whilst researching local abbatoirs (there is a good abbatoir guide!) that I came across some awful and upsetting articles such as this; this; this; and locally and more recently, this.  I was shocked as I had naively thought that by eating a free range/red tractor/organic etc animal I was doing something for animal welfare.  Since that day I decided I wouldn't eat meat unless I knew it had a good life AND a good death.

Which brings me to today.  We ate one of our cockerels.  They were reared from eggs and the progeny of Brutus, our rescue cockerel.  To be honest if they would have kept their beaks down and behaved themselves they wouldn't have been noticed; but they were getting "cocky" and took an unhealthy interest in guarding their our veggie patch from a certain resident child.  So they had to go.  The preparation (done a few weeks ago) was no problem; roasting it was fine but I have to confess that whilst I was eating it I kept wondering if the meat was ok as it tasted so different to what I am used to chicken tasting like.  The breast was great, but the legs were quite gamey for me (even though I like game).  Apparently the gamey taste comes from all the exercise the muscles have had.  Or something like that.

So the life cycle is complete and my initiation is complete.  From egg to table.  Shame I was fretting over cooking the chicken that I burnt the sweet potatoes!

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