Chicken: It’s what’s for dinner tonight

I butchered my first chicken today!

Well, sort of. I sort of butchered my first chicken today.

What really happened was that my guard killed the chicken for me – its a man’s job here – by slitting its throat and throwing her under a bucket so she couldn’t run away. Yes, they can still move after they are dead. We could hear her running headless into the sides of bucket for a couple of minutes and then all got quite. Pretty sure PETA wouldn’t have approved….but this is Africa and not America and PETA doesn’t have much say here.

Some of the locals were helping show me how to pluck the chicken and I knew they knew the chicken plucking and butchering process, so I didn’t really bother to do much research on it. Big mistake. We got done plucking the chicken – which only involved pouring boiling water on the chicken and then me pulling out its feathers – and I foolishly, oh so foolishly, thought that we had done the hard part…and that it actually hadn’t been that hard. I was actually starting to wonder why we didn’t do this all the time instead of buying them in the capital and bringing them back.

Then, after a little thought I realized that that chicken laying in a pan in my kitchen without any feathers on it was full of guts that I did not plan on cooking or eating. Something had to be done about that. So, I employed my houseworker to help me because I had no clue what to do. Remember I didn’t do any research on this process. It didn’t take long for me to decide to just let her do the work and me watch. I wouldn’t have been any help anyway. My idea was to have a whole chicken, you know like the kind you can buy in the grocery store with the insides removed, and cook it for chicken and dumplings. By the time my houseworker got done with it, I had pieces of what remained of a whole chicken and just prayed that everything was out of it that we normally would take out of it. Although they certainly know better than me how to butcher a chicken…they know how to do it the way they do it, not necessarily the way we would like our chickens processed and that can be a little bit of a scary feeling based on some of the other things I have seen them eat around here.

One of the interesting things I saw today was unformed eggs inside the chicken’s body. There were lots of little yolks at all different sizes. Who knew?! Obviously I didn’t. I was surprised by how little I did know about chickens…and what is inside of them. Good thing I have a degree in agriculture huh?

Take away from today: Plucking the chicken is the easy part…really not that bad…wear gloves to do it (I was told again today that my firinji hands were too soft. They of course do not use gloves to stick their hands into boiling water). Immature eggs in a chicken’s stomach are kind of cool…or gross…however you want to look at it. Do your research before you trust yourself entirely to the local way of butchering a chicken.

Smiling cause I think it is easy.

Smiling cause I thought I was finished. I wasn’t.

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