Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The story of lunch

 by Jane Davis
Antiquity Oaks apprentice

I ate duck a l’orange for lunch the other day. It was delicious.

Friday morning the duck that I ate on Saturday was waddling around its enclosure.

Friday afternoon its head was being chopped off.

That night it was sitting in pieces in the fridge passing through the phases of rigor mortis.

Honestly, when I was watching the duck bleed out I wasn’t entirely sure that I would be able to eat it. It seemed gruesome. This was the duck that I had fed and watered every morning, and in just a second it went from very much alive to hanging headless, spilling it’s precious juices all over the ground. It was a little too real all of a sudden.

This might sound stupid, but I have never really been able connect the meat on my table to the animals it comes from. Think about the language that we use; it’s a cow when it’s alive, and at some point that we are not forced to bear witness to, it becomes beef. Poof, like magic. Nobody has to think about eating the big beautiful beast, because it’s not cow…. it’s beef.

The other day when I sat down in front of my plate I remembered that duck walking around the pen with his friends. I remembered chasing after his living, breathing body, and watching as spasms racked his headless body. To not eat this duck was to know that he had died for one less reason. So I ate consciously.

That duck tasted good because it was pasture raised and just about as fresh as it gets. It tasted good because I knew where it had come from and I had seen it grow and I was eating it deliberately. I was reminded of how much work went into that duck, and I was reminded to slow down and savor it. I was also reminded of how many slices of bacon, how many hamburgers, how many chicken wings, and how many turkeys I have eaten without reminding myself of the animal that made them. Watching that duck go, very literally, from farm to table prodded me to remember that all the meat I eat was once a living, breathing animal (as obvious as it sounds).


Michelle said...

I commend you for your conscious eating. I think all people who choose to eat meat should be witness to and aware of the process.

In my teens I decided I could no longer stomach the thought of snuffing out the life of a creature, a sentient being, to dine on its flesh. The older I get (I'm almost 52), the more death pains my heart, probably because I've seen that much more of it. Even road kill makes me tear up. This morning I couldn't even squash the giant slug on my sidewalk.... (I have no such compunction about flies, mosquitoes, wasps and such, though!)

Lisa said...

I am reading this outdoors watching over my 8 ducks and 6 hens. I have not eaten duck since I began raising them, nor an entire roast chicken (wings seem somehow okay.) I know I will face the day that an elderly fowl will have to be kindly dispatched, but it won't be by me! You've just convinced me.

Sue Frame said...

Previous post by Jane---may want to give Warnings that pics like those were coming up---really, really grossed me out. Thanks


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