28 January 2007

Foul pursuits

I am roasting a chicken. I know, I know, alert the media. For you it may not be a big deal, but for me it is.

I became a vegetarian before I learned how to cook. In fact, one of the things that may have kept me from learning to cook was my fear of dealing with meat in all its oozy ickiness. Once I realized that I could skip that step, I started cooking every vegetable and starch under the sun with great glee.

In my life, my meat cooking experience is as follows: I have cooked about 3 roast chickens, not counting this one, for my dear dog Goldie when she had an upset stomach. This one is being sacrificed because my mom alerted me that it was on sale for 57 cents a pound.

I also worked briefly at a terrible family restaurant, where I was such an incompetent goof that I wasn't trusted to cook meat much, but I did have the privilege of making 300 meatballs a couple times a week and also of removing chicken parts from these disgusting large plastic lined boxes that were inevitably awash in smelly chicken juice.

So for me, roasting a chicken is a Huge Deal. First there is the buying of it. I feel as shamefaced as an AA leader picking up a fifth of Vodka. There is always the thought "What if someone sees me buying this disgusting thing?" I have to remind myself that normal people buy chickens sometimes and no one bats an eye. No ID is demanded.

I bring it home feeling like I have a bag of radioactive waste. What if I spill some of the juice on something? What if it contaminates my fridge? Aren't chickens seething with bacteria? I hope I have enough clorox to dispel this paranoia.

Then my least favorite part - the disassembly. What are those little bloody pads they put in there in the bag with the bird? You know what they look like. I don't have to say it. And it does not pique my appetite.

Then why, oh why do they shove guts and parts inside the creature's body cavity? I can think of no circumstance where I would want these slippery things, but now I have to remove them. That involves touching the chicken. How do you people who do this all the time stand it? The clammy flesh that feels, well, just like dead clammy flesh. Urk.

And then the poor dead thing is lying there looking for all the world like a decapitated human, all fleshy and bumpy with the butt at one end and the missing head at the other. By this point, I am almost weeping for the little animal. Why, why must chickens die?

Ok, that's a bit overwrought and PETAish. But still. But it IS pretty disgusting, no?

On top of all my guilt over the roasting chicken, I can hear it in there spewing grease spatters all over the oven. Did you know that vegetarians almost never have to clean their ovens? Really! No grease! It is super.

Do you think it is odd that I eat fake chicken (Quorn, really pretty good) for dinner and make real chicken for my dog? Yeah, me too.

Goldie will be so happy though. She has no guilt over the murdered chickens. Or squirrels. Or rats. But I draw the line at chickens. No matter how many times she asks, I will not roast a rat for her.


Suzanne said...

You are not paranoid. Most meat products are filthy. This was detailed in the book Fast Food Nation. It's one of my many excuses why I don't cook at home - I don't want my kitchen infested with gross bacteria.

Mr Stapler said...

The best part about chicken? They taste just like chicken.

QT said...

I'm sorry, I had to laugh at parts of this. Chickens can indeed be gross, and you are dealing with it in its least appealing form. I rarely buy chickens at the store, so I don't ever deal with all the gross liquids or internal parts, which are really for making broth.

It may be nicer for you to buy a chicken already cut up and poach it for Goldie. No internal parts, no spattering grease.

SUEB0B said...

QT - the genesis of this project was that whole chickens were 57 cents a pound at the grocery store and my mom advised me to get one while the gettin was cheap...

Mrs. Chicky said...

I hate roasting chickens. I stick to the breasts. Yeah, I'm a breast girl. And I'm darn proud of it.

When my dogs are sick they get cooked ground beef. It's easier than cooking chicken and then cutting it all up. I'm all about the ease, especially when chasing and cleaning up after my dogs when they're ill.

TB said...

Dude, I EAT meat and even I don't like to mess with whole poultry products. Nasty chicken skin and innards and stuff. I stick with organic skinless breasts, although that's probably a touch too expensive for your dog :o)

Holly Capote said...

Funny, SueBob!

But true. Meat is disgusting. After all, you're eating dead and decaying tissue, since decay begins the moment something dies.

lizgwiz said...

Ooh, I love Quorn. The Quorn Gruyere Cutlets are yummy! A while back the food nazis (Center for the Public Interest, or whatever they're called) tried to get Quorn banned because people who were sensitive to mushrooms MIGHT get an upset tummy. Back off, food nazis: a) they're made from mycofungal protein, but NOT mushrooms, and b) is there any food anywhere that doesn't make SOMEbody's tummy upset? Geez.

Laurabob said...

If I comment I might use up all the irony, and we need some for later.

super des said...

I never learned to cook meat, and I'm fine with that. I'm sure my veggie-ism would be much propelled (earlier than high school?) if I'd had to.

I never have Quorn, but I am in love with Veat. MMMM tasty.

At least dogs can be herbivores. In theory you could make a nice vegetarian snack or treat for your doggie. My cat on the other hand, can only eat meat. Damn carnivores.

Meg said...

I'm hooked on Quorn and various other fake meat products, but I will dig up and feed live worms to my tortoise. Oh yeah, and chop up (dead) rats for the wildlife rehab. Hey, some animals can't be veg. Me? I figure it's been seven years, and I'm coping fine...and I had to cook chicken for dinner guests the other night, and it just freaked me out completely.

Meg said...

Wow, didn't realize how incoherent my post sounds. I'll blame my raging fever, but what I mean was, "It's been seven years, and I'm coping fine as a vegetarian -- but I sure as heck couldn't cook chicken. Brave you, SueBob."

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