As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

What Can I Say? I Have Butcher Envy.

As I’ve shifted my diet to exclusively cook locally and sustainably-raised meat, my interest in the butchering process has grown. Honestly, I am fascinated. Maybe it’s the anatomy lesson. Or the fact that this type of butchering is no longer the norm in our food system. The irony to it all is that I’m a little squeamish when it comes to blood and guts. I remember career day in high school when I visited a vet clinic; I saw Fluffy the cat spread open for surgery and I just about passed out.

Over the past year, I have seen more animal butchering than I had ever seen before. And really I have only seen two–I watched (and helped where I could) my friend’s father field dress and then butcher a deer Andy hunted last Christmas; and then of course there was the more recent feral hog harvest in San Saba in May. Also, one lazy evening, Andy and I watched a cable TV show that showed how to butcher a cow (from bullet to ribeye).

I recently came across these two chicken butchering videos via the Austex Poultry Yahoo Group to which I subscribe. (There are two parts and they last about 25 minutes, combined.) As I started to watch the first video, I had my hand hovering above the stop button just in case I couldn’t take seeing the chicken being killed. But, the process all happened so smoothly and the narrator’s voice is so calming, that it really wasn’t a problem. In fact, the woman who does the butchering is awesome. I especially liked her comment that butchering animals is “not about being brutal and macho”  but rather it is about “understanding that you kill things…and eat them; that’s how the world works.”

When I think to myself that here I am learning to butcher a chicken by watching a YouTube video….I can only think what my Great-Grandmothers Frey and Casnovsky are thinking…

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