Kill it, Cook it, Eat it

This post was very much on my mind today as I drove to the supermarket to buy food. Along the way, I saw more numbers than I care to mention of “road kill” — small animals that had the misfortune of encountering careless drivers. Among others, I saw a raccoon, an oppossum, two squirrels and a skunk. Fortunately, I didn’t see Bambi (but have no doubt she and others of her breed lay eviscerated on the many roads I did not traverse this day.

Seeing all of this blood and gore on the road summoned thoughts about what people eat and my predisposition to being a carnivore…

One of my favorite programs on television (which I rarely watch) is a British show called “Kill It, Cook It, Eat It” (which I don’t think is on TV any more). It “follows the journey of farm animals from the pasture to the plate.” In each episode, the host assembles a group of people with varying tastes. Some are hunting enthusiasts. Others are vegetarians. The plot unfolds as the group ventures out in search of prey, shoots it, cleans it and prepares it for consumption. At they end, the participants all sit down to share a communal meal and share their thoughts about the experience.

Kill it cook it eat it

Kill It, Cook It, Eat It

This show appeals to me because I am an inveterate carnivore. I have no compunction about naming and claiming an eating habit I continue to embrace even though it has largely fallen out of favor, especially with groups like PETA.

What I believe about what we eat is that — no matter what it is…. meat or vegetable — we should be THOUGHTFUL and RESPONSIBLE. If your choice is vegetarianism, good for you. If you eat meat, you should get to know the animals you consume before you ingest the life of one of God’s creatures. Just ask Michael Pollen (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) or Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (The River Cottage Cookbook).

Today, people seem to think that the meat they consume is not really meat…. It  is purchased disembodied at a supermarket, packaged in a  plastic wrapped styrofoam tray. In this context, eaters are put at  “arms length” from the visceral reality that — in order to eat meat, an animal must die.  We have come a long way from when people ate what they produced…. vegetables grown in a garden and livestock raised from birth to table.

Since the most  popular and economical “meat” these days is chicken. I draw your attention to the fact that people used to raise chickens at home and either axe or wring their necks before plucking and cooking. I present this recipe for chicken and dumplings — something my grandmother used to cook regularly — as a small step in helping appreciate the reality of what we consume.

Creole Chicken & Dumplings

Creole Chicken & Dumplings

INGREDIENTS

1 Chicken (cut into 8 pieces)
1 cup flour
½ cup oil (vegetable)
1 green pepper (chopped)
1 red pepper (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)
1 cup crème fraiche
2 tbs butter
2 cups chicken stock (4 boullion cubes cooked in 2 cups boiling water)

SEASONING

1 tbs salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp pepper (black)
1 tsp pepper (white)
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tsp pepper (cayenne)
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme

DIRECTIONS

USE a large pot
MIX seasonings together in a small bowl
SPRINKLE half of the seasoning on chicken
COAT chicken pieces with flour
FRY in hot oil until golden brown, remove from pan and set aside
SAUTE vegetables and remaining seasoning in hot oil
ADD chicken stock, crème fraiche and 2 Tbs of flour for thickening
RETURN chicken to sauce
DROP dumplings by spoonfuls onto top of chicken mixture
SIMMER until chicken is heated through and dumplings are firm (about 20 minutes)

DUMPLINGS

INGREDIENTS

1 egg
½ onion (chopped)
½ cup milk
4 tbs butter (melted)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp pepper (cayenne)
1 tsp thyme

DIRECTIONS

BEAT egg and milk together
ADD onions
ADD dry ingredients
MIX until smooth
DROP by spoonfuls onto top of chicken mixture

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