This past Sunday we sold a bunch of old laying hen chickens to a neighbor who intended to butcher them up for use in soups and stews. Our family has a small flock of about 40 birds for egg laying and when they’ve run their cycle—usually after about three years or so—we offer them up for butchering to folks who will take them.
It’s a great reminder to all of us here on the farm as to where our food comes from. In particular, the process is important for the next generation to witness.
In this instance my 5–y/o daughter cried when she suddenly realized those pretty birds were gone—for good! Indeed, we reminded her that the neighbor was taking them home to eat them and that was all part of the cycle of life. In fact, we also reminded her that when we go to the grocery store the meat she likes to eat all comes from some animal.
Kids need to appreciate and understand that concept, but in today’s world most kids are never even exposed to that. Not in the slightest.
Next time you are at a restaurant offering a choice between bone-in and boneless hot chicken wings ask the waitress which type is most popular. Heck, I will save you the trouble. If the diners are beyond, oh, let’s say about 40 years old or so, the answer is usually bone-in. Less than that the preference is usually for boneless. Why is that?
Can I offer up an educated guess? The simply answer is GUILT. As our society gets further removed from “the farm” people don’t want to be reminded of where their meat originates. When you’re gnawing every morsel of muscle fiber off a chicken wing or a pork rib bone it’s pretty hard to put that out of your mind, isn’t it?
Not so when meat once served as bones included now comes with the convenient option of bones-free.
Oh, sure, I am not so naive to realize how there are other factors at play here, too. The point is lots of processed foods are just easier accomplished without the hassle of bones, but you can’t completely discount my contention we are today living in a society that does not want to concern itself with where our foodstuffs are derived.
That’s why hunting, fishing and other “consumptive” sports are important. If a kid is only exposed to the process of killing and subsequent consumption of an animal a few times a year that is more than most children get. Food is not something to be ashamed of or to be dealing with feelings of guilt. We all must eat and consuming meat is one of the most natural activities ever known to mankind.
So, the next time you’re eating in a restaurant do you go boneless or happily grab the bones? How you order your food might just be saying a great deal about you. I know from now on when I see people eating anything boneless I will interject a sense of reality by reminding them they are actually eating an animal.
Huh! It’s funny how when you take a person either hunting or fishing this type of conversation never has reason to be mentioned.
©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.