PART II: MAIN COURSE
Last week, I (Erin) detailed my trip to Green Acres Farm where I picked up my very own locally-bred, hormone-free, humanely-raised chicken (named “Darryl”). After thawing Darryl in our fridge, I prepared to cook what, by Vore standards, qualified as a feast. Usually our “dinner” is a bowl of pasta, a salad, or a slice of stromboli. An accompanying side dish is practically a buffet, so Friday’s meal constituted a miracle. Somewhere, my mother cries silently to herself that she failed to make me a proper woman.
Before we could please our palate with the succulent breast, thigh and wing of poultry, I had to do the inevitable: Face the chicken. I did not want to face the chicken because raw chicken, especially a whole chicken, is slimy and gross. And decapitated.
On the bottom shelf of the fridge, Darryl was still next to that Yuengling but thankfully the Mexican leftovers had been tossed out. As I placed him in the roasting pan, delicately spreading his legs and wings, I was acutely aware that Darryl was an animal. Since reading Omnivore’s Dilemma, I’ve more or less reconciled my guilt over eating animals, but even still, the nausea set in and I couldn’t help but feel sad when looking at the stump that used to hold a head. Pollan writes that as he got closer to his food (both on an emotional and geographical level), he felt overwhelmingly thankful for it. There was a story behind his meal. It wasn’t faceless or pre-packaged. It was Darryl, who had been sacrificed for our appetite.
Into the oven went Darryl, along with some butter, rosemary and sea salt. An hour and fifteen minutes later, out came a fragrant, oven-browned bird that looked camera-ready.
I fixed steamed vegetables from my parent’s garden and cheesy-tomato rice (a Vore staple) to go along with the chicken. I felt proud of my meal, which then made me feel embarrassed that normal people have real meals every night of the week. Oh well, guess we’re a different type of normal.
The meal did not come without a cost, as in the amount of money we paid for it. Darryl was no cheap chicken. (He was about $3.50 a pound.) But what did we get for that price? Chicken that tasted as fresh as any we’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Could we afford to eat Darryl on a nightly basis? No. Are we willing to pay more every so often for a gustatory experience of this kind? Based on LocaVoreblog experiment #1, the answer is “absolutely.”
POSTSCRIPT FROM BEN: Darryl was delicious. Erin said I should write that I ate two pounds of him, but I’m certain it was not two pounds. But it was a lot. A delicious lot. This locavore thing is deliciously good!
POSTSCRIPT FROM ERIN: For an absurd and hilarious encounter with Danish film, allow me to recommend The Green Butchers, starring one of my favorites, Mads Mikkelsen, better known as Le Chiffre from Casino Royal. It’s about two Danes who are in the very bad habit of killing people and then selling those people disguised as chicken. Also, Mikkelsen sports a mean male-pattern baldness look.