Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Raised in Liberty
We like to see our dinners as far removed from the actual living creature as possible. I know people who don’t like buffalo wings or Thanksgiving turkey because they too closely resemble the animal. And forget about shoving a live, wriggling lobster head first into a pot of boiling water…unless of course you’re my fearless friend Abby.
No, we like our food to look like it never breathed air, walked around with a silver anklet, or batted long, brown eyelashes at fellow future hamburgers. Baby chickens are cute and fluffy, cows are favorites at the petting zoo, and forget about eating a petit lapin!
It is this that sets us apart food wise. We get all squeamish and anthropomorphic while the French just look on it as their natural right in the pecking order to eat good, rich food. Foie gras (literally, fat liver) is an abomination to some, escargot are snails, pig brains are well, brains!?, and let’s not even start on cheval. Ma fille is still traumatized by the packaged horse steaks at the Hyper-U.
We just see things differently, that’s all. I’m actually getting used to being closer to my food. In the old days, women would step outside, snatch up a chicken and wring her neck for supper. I would never be able to go that far but at least they knew where their chicken had been.
Back to my poulet. My fat bird may have been slightly feathered but at least she was elévé en liberté or the more romantic translation, 'total freedom'. The French are big on liberty. It’s first in their national motto, liberté, égalité, fraternité, and chickens deserve no different. It’s like this: embrace your food, know where it comes from (preferably France), and above all, cook it well and eat it. If you don’t enjoy it then it was all for naught. And what a pity that would be.