Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thoughts on Poultry

Chickens are weird.

All over the world, chickens and their unhatched babies are a major food source for the human population. In Nepal, our trekking guide asked us what chickens in Canada looked like, and I had to admit that I had no idea. He told me that mountain chickens were tastier than city chickens -- a reasonable thing to say, it seemed. I told him we get our chicken from the grocery store, slaughtered, plucked, skinned, boned, and sealed up in neat little styrofoam packages.

In Hong Kong, I was dared to eat a chicken testicle -- which I did -- but I balked at the feet. I decided the next day to be a vegetarian.

I haven't seen a white egg since we left Canada. All over the world, in all of these countries, eggs are brown. Martha Stewart tells me it's because the chickens' ears are brown. In Cambodia we even saw blue eggs, but they were sitting beside deep-fried hairy tarantulas, so I didn't trust them.

All over the world, New Zealand and Australia included, they don't refrigerate their eggs in the store.

Sometimes, when I crack an egg, I get a spot of blood, or even twinned yolks -- two things that never seem to happen at home. The factory farming of chickens at home precludes this sort of organic reality, it seems.

Back when we climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2006, eggs were a major staple for us because they didn't need refrigeration (see above.) On the way to the trail head, our assistant guide sat in the middle front seat of an old Land Rover with a grocery bag full of eggs in his lap. They were not in a carton. Every time the car went in to the ditch (which happened twice) or a bump (which was all the time) he lifted the bag of eggs off of his lap and held it suspended in midair, so none of them would break.

In Japan, a fried cutlet of chicken and a fried egg on rice are called, "Mother and Child".


Lor said...

Wow Val, that's the deepest philosophical post on poultry that I've ever read.

Torie said...

It's funny, isn't it? I'm now weirded out when I see white eggs. And although I've lived in France for three years, I'm still not fully onboard the unrefrigerated egg thing. Don't get me started on the milk.

And the Japanese dish--oyaku-don--oishii! So delicious!

wompcat said...

Okay, I'm confused. Eggs don't need to be refrigerated? There's a lot of energy put into keeping them cold here in North America...