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.
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).