Ghosts of Chickens Past

If you ask me today why I’m a vegetarian, I will likely tell you that it’s mostly for environmental reasons, and that’s mostly true. But, it’s not the whole story. A big part of the reason I don’t eat animals anymore is that I’ve already tried them all.

When I was a kid, my family ate more exotic fare than just cows and chickens. And dinner time was more than just a meal – it was the precious time where my parents sowed the seeds for my future in therapy.

See, my father hunted. Bunnies and squirrels and frogs and deer – all manner of fierce creatures with razor sharp teeth and cute furry tails. It was them or him. He’d cut them up on the kitchen table with the same dirty knife he’d use to groom his fingernails.

Then, Mom would cook them up, and we’d eat them. Involuntarily.

My sister and I would have paid you to invite us to dinner at your house. Whatever you were having was OK by us. Hamburger Helper? We’d kiss your Mom’s feet.

Not that we never got Hamburger Helper at our house. We did. We loved it, too, because we had never met the cow before it reached our plates. The squirrels and rabbits, we weren’t so sure about.

Dad would shoot pretty much anything that had the nerve to scamper onto the property. My sister and I had to be careful when we wore our little faux fur coats. “Dad, wait! It’s me – Debbie! See? I’m taking down the hood…Moooom, Dad tried to shoot me again!”

But, that’s not the worst.

Let me see here. I started to say the worst was when Dad brought home the cow tongue from the local grocer and Mom boiled it. The smell permeated everything in the house, and that was pretty frickin’ bad.

But, that wasn’t really the worst, because Mom decided that nobody should have to eat that. She was right. Say whatever bullshit you want about the starving kids who’d be happy to have it, but I think even they might have to draw the line at the boiled cow tongue. Personally, I could go a lot of days without eating before I’d even venture to touch it with a stick.

But, the really really worst was Dad’s phase where he deemed that he should be the one to do the cooking.

Armed only with a set of Ginsu knives, a cooking bag, and a Justin Wilson cookbook, he stepped boldly into the world of culinary arts. The world of culinary arts trembled before him, and his own children prayed nightly for his untimely demise.

How many recipes could good ol’ Justin Wilson come up with that call for both a shitload of cooking wine and an ungodly amount of cayenne pepper? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

I never thought chicken was such a bad meal until I consumed several who tasted as if they might well have died of alcohol poisoning while pursuing some ill-fated fraternity dare.

Dad would put the poor chicken in a bag with two quarts of booze and three heaping tablespoons of red pepper and then cook it up for our eating pleasure. Even though the bird would already be dead at this point, you’d swear if you listened long enough that you could hear the fucking thing hiccup. “Dad, I think your friend there has had quite enough to drink. Give him a cup of coffee, and don’t let him drive.”

So, why am I telling you all of this now – more than twenty years after the fact and much too late for you to call child protective services to have me put in a nice foster home? Well, because Justin Wilson was evil, and Ginsu knives weren’t all they were cracked up to be, and sometimes a person just needs to get these things off her chest.

There. I’m feeling much better now.

How are you?

Comments 10

  • Not a vegetarian by all means; if a cow had a chance to kill you, she would. But the whole cow tongue smell thingy, I can relate too. I am a Mexican and when it comes to eating animals, we basically eat the whole damn thing brains and all; not that I have. I am surprisingly a very picky eater. Any who, back to the smell thing. My mom used to cocked this type of soup called MENUDO, which is made it vegetables and pig’s stomach lining. She would boil the damn thing and the stench would just make me want to vomit. To my surprise, mom liked MENUDO so much as to cook it every sunday for about a year. Ahhhh (me reminiscing the good old years).

  • Walt Disney would have had a heart attack in your kitchen!
    Thankfully, being Irish, nothing too exotic was ever made in our house. Although Mum had to stop cooking liver for the dog because i would vomit as soon as the smell hit me.

  • That tongue sounds horrid. Just horrid. Are you ok dear?

  • Hi Honey, your Dad wanted me to invite you to Sunday dinner next week. Rememer the Chicken i dont know and i don’t give a damn? Just so you know i hid the Justin Wilson cook book. I guess that’s a case of TOO LITTLE TOO LATE!

  • The worse we ever had was when Dad decided to be creative and cooked some beef liver with sage – only it called for a couple of teaspoons and he put in a couple of tablespoons. We couldn’t even get the DOG to eat it! To this day, sage grows in my garden but never ever ever comes in the house!

  • honestly, i’m feelin’ a little nauseous.
    i think a nice green salad sounds good.
    for about a month.

  • I know, I know! The worst for me as when, in 6th or 7th grade, I finally managed to have one of the coolest girls ever over after school. And my mom, she was cooking Pheasant Fucking Pot Pie. That had been freshly murdered that very day. The humiliation! So we sat down to eat with cool friend and my dorky family, and everyone had to pick the pellets out of the food so as not to fracture their teeth! Cool friend never came over again. And I am now vegetarian as well!

  • I like both menudo and cow tongue. we raised the cows, too, so I knew them before they came to the table. I’m starting to think I might be a little cracked.

  • Growing up in Louisiana Justin Wilson was the only way to cook. lol. He was famous here. We used to watch his shows for entertainment. lol. Jeesh I just realized how bored we were as kids. lol. I still LOVE frog legs and deer. I dont eat squirrels aymore or raccoons either. I’m one of those if I cant buy it in the store I usually dont bother. I cant eat it if I’ve had to hunt it first…its too much like dating. Hahaha..confessions of a stalker! lol

  • “Not a vegetarian by all means; if a cow had a chance to kill you, she would.” This does not justify the fact of killing them.

    I am vegan for ethical reasons, because non-human animals interests deserve the same consideration as human interests, without specie prejudices (speciesism). We are all sentient beings with our own interests, and therefore, we are all equals.

    It can be said I am vegan also for health reasons… for non-human animals healths! ; )

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