It's been about a month since I realized we had three roosters, and I have spent the entire month debating the fate of my three pets. I know the answer is obvious, but sometimes you have to get there in your own good time.
I can be overly sensitive. I have tried at least twice to de-beard mussels, and each time I nearly passed out part way through. I start out tough as nails, and then I start to wonder what kind of pain they might be experiencing. Before I know it my whole body feels hot and the room starts to spin. It detracts from the dining experience enough that I stick to clams now.
Last summer my husband and I bought my dad an enormous live lobster for his birthday. It was a great idea until the pot turned out to be waaaay too small. Apparently you really have to measure the monster from CLAW to tail, not head to tail, for an accurate measurement. The tail thrashed in agony. My dad shouted, "It's SUFFERING!" and left the room. Tears were shed and tempers flared. It was more funereal than festive to say the least.
So for the roosters, I realized that research was necessary and that maybe, just maybe, I was not the person for this job. So I have been interviewing unwitting candidates for a while now, kind of the way you would start asking around if you were thinking about going back to work and needed to find a good nanny. I make mental notes- too brutal, too cavalier, too eager, not gentle enough, looks too hungry.
It's hard to find the right fit.
And with all this, I have three roosters crowing together every morning from roughly 4:30 to 7:00. They harmonize, and I'm pretty sure that all my neighbors hate me. Yesterday morning I saw the three of them ganging up and mounting one poor hen. Roosters don't seem to understand that no means no, and I was out there in the early hours screaming "get off of her, you pig!". I'm sure the neighbors loved that too.
Finally, we butchered the chickens with the help of a man who was raised on a farm in Hungary. (I say "we", but by "we" I don't mean "me," not at all. My long-suffering husband was the one who did all the nasty work while I hid like the coward I am.) It was a depressing afternoon for me. Every time I started to turn green, my husband would strengthen my resolve by reminding me of the gang rape taking place in our backyard.
They dug a hole in the backyard for the blood. We boiled an enormous pot of water, one much bigger than the one the lobster went into, and they were ready. The birds bled out pretty quietly, and once they were good and dead I came out to watch. Chickens take a lot of work. Way more than I had realized. After dipping them in boiling water the feathers came right out by the handful. The feet had to be dipped in as well, and then the scaly skin peeled off. Next the birds were singed over an open flame.
Inside, he rubbed them all over with salt to disinfect them. (This was supposed to be my job. No way. Just couldn't bring myself to touch it.) I'll spare you the rest of the gory details, but it was quite an anatomy lesson. Each part of the chicken was cleaned, rubbed with lots of salt, and then rinsed and set in a bowl of cold water. The innards did smell foul until it all got cleaned up.
I'm including some pictures below, but if you don't want to see any of this, feel free to skip it. I'm not going to claim that it will enrich your life.
Everything intended for soup was put into one bowl, and then everything for Chicken Paprikash, a Hungarian dish, was put in another bowl. Everything was used- liver, skin, testicles, gizzard, stomach, head. Even the comb.
Are you wondering if we were able to eat it and how it tasted? I will post the Chicken Paprikash separately, but it wasn't just good, it was AMAZING.
You may also be wondering what happened to the third rooster. Here is a hint.
My flock improved immediately with only one rooster present. He doesn't seem to miss the others. He has been hard at work (wink, wink), and he seems to prefer blondes. We are going to have to try the actual rooster collar since our rigged up version has only succeeded in transforming his crowing into the trumpet blast of an elephant.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!