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My “liberal” credentials might take a bit of a beating here. But, what the hell, I am African… I can’t pull punches just to make people feel better about themselves. I have some beef with what we eat…

You know I don’t like Palin. She an empty head with lots of background noise. I’m not even going to go into that. Just have a look at a few of the things I’ve written about her to know I am not a fan. See the letter I wrote to Sarah, or how six degrees of separation makes her anti-American and not a maverick, or what I want in a Vice President. Oh, there are many more. But those will give you a sense of my dislike of the lipstick pig.

And here I am defending her. Dammit. I thought about it for a while… But I know I have to. It’s about meat you see. And I am a meatarian. Ooh… Not everyone likes that part of me. Mmm. A few nice tjops and a boerewors on the open fire… Mouth watering sh*t I tell you. Anyway. Go have a look at my views on eating meat. Unpopular? Maybe. Do I care? Hum… Sorry… Was that a question? I eat meat. Live with it.

What am I talking about? I am talking about the “turkey incident”. You know, the one with Sarah “Empty Head” Palin talking to the media while a guy is busy cutting the throat of a turkey in the background to drain the blood. And of course, kill the bird. Here is a link to that just in case you haven’t seen it yet. Do what I did… Turn off the sound and just watch the guy in the background. I really have no reason to hear her voice. She sounds just like a bunch of turkeys in any case. And about as predictable. Have you ever stood with a bunch of turkeys and made the turkey “kulu-kulu-kulu” sound? Yep, they all react the same way by singing it all back to you in unison. Just like Sarah and her gang of bigots. You push the button and she’ll sing it back… So predictable. Anyway… Here is the video.

It was all over the news. People were up in arms about her being so stupid to stand in front of the cameras while the guy is killing the bird in the background. How could she? Is she that stupid? Hum… Yes, this “bird” is that stupid but it has nothing to do with the bird in the background. I really don’t get what the fuss was about?

Are you shocked about the killing of the bird? WTF? How did you think that turkey got on your plate over Thanksgiving? Do you think they were massaged till they died a peaceful death? Or that they died of some natural cause?

Yep. They did die of a natural cause. Natural for a turkey in any case. They got slaughtered. And nicely packaged for your convenience. Ready to place your order for a 16 pound turkey and pick it up at Roche Brothers the day before Thanksgiving. And then you stick it in the oven for a few hours and… Wallah! Turkey time!

(Oh, we had a chicken on steroids for Thanksgiving. Eight pounds – the smallest one you could order. Hey, the butcher frowned at our un-American size turkey – even after we explained we are four very normal size people. Two kids and two grown ups. But that maple syrup did the trick. Nice and juicy! Thanks babe.)

Back to reality… The meat you eat were once little calves and chicks and little piggies and little baa baa white sheep. Yes, they were cute once. But now they are dinner. Or maybe just mashed up into a burger or something. Get used to it. The things we call meat were once alive. Now they are nicely done (medium rare as the chef said) and on our dinner plates. Live with it.

More importantly, own it.

I find it amazing that people were shocked at the video. I just can’t understand how people can think that food comes nicely packaged without any consequences. Meat doesn’t grow on trees. Their natural state isn’t wrapped in plastic and in cold storage. They don’t grow up from little 1 ounce steaks into the half-pounder you slap on the grill.

I don’t have a problem with what I eat. I slaughtered a few sheep in my time. And cattle for that matter. Plucked a few chickens. Even helped a turkey or two from their kulu-kulu state into my plate. That’s life. I am from Africa and had to go to the farm when there was a break from school. I’m glad I did it.

And I am happy that I slaughtered the sheep and cows and chickens and rabbits and deer or whatever else came my way from the farm or when we went hunting. We ate what we killed. It wasn’t for fun. It was for food and to control the numbers. Too many wild animals and the semi-desert area would turn into a desert area if we didn’t cull the animals and control the numbers. Like I said, it wasn’t for fun.

But I am still glad I knew what I ate. And I am glad that I could take ownership of what I ate. From the farm to my plate. I knew the animals and knew what they were for. We always looked after them and fed them. Gave them space to live and kept them healthy. But they weren’t there to be played with. We respected them and treated them well. And then we will slaughter them in the best and quickets way we can. Always with respect and acknowledgement that we owe them as much as what we own them. Because we knew that in the end we will eat them. And live.

My only problem now is that I don’t know where my meat comes from. I know about the force-feeding of turkeys and the steroids for juicy steaks and the transporting of sheep. I don’t like it. I don’t. But I have to make a choice. I either eat it and know what might have happened along the way or I should shut the f*ck up and go eat some celery.

Oh I try to be organic when I can afford it and when I can get it. I make sure I have as much information as possible. But I am not going to live in the clouds and think that there are no consequences. I know that there are some major sh*t going on in the US when it comes to the stuff they call meat. Those large commercial farms are not a pretty sight. But that happens when you want your steaks and you want your burgers. It’s as horrid as you can imagine and then some. Sh*t happens when we want to eat meat.

Know what you eat. Live with it. Don’t try and think you are all “eco-activist” by getting worked up about the turkey getting slaughtered. Those horrid pictures… That’s life. That’s how you get your food. Know it. Live with it. And then eat it.

I do. I’m not going to bullsh*t myself. I might be a disgusting bastard and barbaric African for eating meat, but I am not going to be a hypocrite. I know it. I live with it. And I eat it.

Don’t think your all organic green salad is that much better. Farming soya is killing the Amazon forest. And it tastes like crap. (No thanks, I’ve tried it many, many times in different ways. It always tastes shite.) What makes a plant so much worse than a cow? Just because it doesn’t have whiskers and a heartbeat?

It’s so stupid. People trying to humanize the animals we eat. Cows with glasses on? Yeah, it is funny… But it is also a piece of steak away from being on my plate. Chicken Little? Wait till he grows up. Babe? Mmm, wonder what the farmer did with him when he got old? Sorry, these animals don’t live the lives we are told on the telly or read in those nice bedtime stories. Those are stories, not life. I laugh at the stories of animals done so beautifully by Pixar and the Disney gang and I love Back To The Barnyard. But I also know that calling the main cow Otis doesn’t mean he won’t be eaten when the time comes.

You like cats or dogs? Guess what… The stuff you feed them? Used to be the crap left over after they cut the choice meat for us. Or the fish heads left over after we got our frozen bits cut into nice cubes. We eat meat. Or some of us do. And we should know what we eat and not be disgusted by how we get it. That is bigotry. Or at least hypocritical.

Thank God we don’t hear the broccoli scream as you snap the stem, dry freeze it before it is stuffed in a plastic bag and then dropped in boiled water or nuked by the microwave. Oh, those poor, poor broccoli. And the cute little peas. What did they ever do to you? Or do you wait for the carrot to die a natural death?

No. I am not going to eat roadkill. I know what I eat. Or at least as much as what I can know. I am not going to flinch when I see a picture of a dead animal getting slaughtered and packaged. I am going to look at it and then slap it on the grill.

I know it. I see it. I own it. I live with it. And I eat it.

Do you?

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Sorry about being so quiet over the last few days. I haven’t been feeling too well. That’s why I have this heading today…

Do any of you watch Monty Python? More specifically their movie The Meaning Of Life? I used to love them. Actually, I still love them. I met John Cleese once! But that is for another day. Do you remember the scene in The Meaning of Life where this huge guy called Mr Creosote is in the French restaurant eating? I mean really huge. Larger than life in so many ways. Anyway, the waiter asks him how he feels. Actually, here is the sketch:

Maitre d’: Ah, good afternoon, sir; and how are we today?

Mr Creosote: Better.

Maitre d’: Better?

Mr Creosote: Better get a bucket – I’m gonna throw up.

Well, that’s how I have been feeling the last few days. But I am better now. Not “better”, really better…

Oddly enough it’s only the third time that I have ever asked my wife to “better get a bucket”. Really surprising if you know my willingness to try anything at least once – mopane worms, horse steak, kapenta nibbles, frog legs, “mystery” meat of various looks and flavors. You name it and I’ll try it at least once. Only thing I will never eat again? Cabbage.

Anyway, the “better get a bucket” scenes follow the story of my life. At least the signs that I am getting old. Let’s go through my three times of “better get a bucket” experiences.

First time was at my bachelor party. Big surprise hey? Actually, it was a cool party. I have some weird and wonderful friends so I knew it would be safer to have it somewhere where I would be safe. Just in case they decide to put me in a cast and ship me off on some train to nowhere. You don’t know my friends… They’ll do stuff like that.

So I decided to have it at my regular watering hole. De Akker. My home away from home. Man, I have stories about that place for you… But that is also for another day. Oh the memories… Jose, still the owner today, played soccer with me and I knew I could trust him. At least trust that he would not allow me to be carried away into the night and never to be seen again. Not because he was worried about me. More that he (and many others) was sh*t scared of what my (then future) wife would do to them.

The evening started off well. I made a few rules. Only whiskey (John Daniels – what you call Jack Daniels if you are really good friends), beer and Tequila! Anything else would get me… hum… better get a bucket… So I had a few shots and a few beers. It was going very well. All according to plan. And then bloody Christie had to do his Christie rules. Christie was a legend in my town. A huge guy. And I mean HUGE! Always had this XXXX large multi-colored jersey on (sweater for the Americans). He taught politics at the local university – that’s where we met – we both studied and taught politics there. He was a few years ahead of me though. In many ways. Anyway… He got up and shouted in a booming voice, “Listen everyone! It’s his bachelor party and you all better buy him a drink! Tequila, whiskey or beer! Now!” And no one argues with Christie. No one. Not even me. But it was a Saturday night and the place was packed. And everyone bought a bloody drink…

Now, I knew I had certain limits. I have never been a heavy drinker. But I’ve had my fair share at university. And this was the time to show my metal. But 18 tequilas lined up? Come on people! And a few beers and a few whiskeys? I knew I wasn’t going to make it through this night. Not without a trusty bucket.

I lost count somewhere along the way. Count of everything. I have no clue how I made it back to our flat. But I wasn’t feeling well. In all honesty, I never get physically ill from alcohol. I feel bad and might have a huge hang-over the next day, but never physical ill. But I knew that I might just drive that lorry with the white steering wheel later that night…

And that was where my (future) wife found me. I still wasn’t sick, but I felt awful. And she walked in, looked at me driving the truck and asked, “How are you feeling?” I looked at her and had no clue who she was. No idea! A little wet face cloth was given and I got up to lie on the couch for a while… And she was brilliant with me. She never saw me like that before. And she was great when I asked softly, “Better get a bucket…”

Haha! Surprise, surprise. I never actually used the bucket that night. The next day I felt like a truck hit me and only had some grape juice at the wedding we had to attend (not ours). But that was the first time I asked for it. I was young and still in top shape. The next time it happened I was a little bit older…

De Akker again many years later. We went there for a drink with a friend. All I had was one beer, one whiskey and one tequila. Nothing too heavy. Stretched over a few hours. But I started feeling ill very early on. Very ill. We took our friend home. I stopped the car and said good night. And then I opened the car door and leaned out to be sick. Right there in front of their home. Needless to say I haven’t lived that one down yet. I am reminded of my sorry state whenever they get the chance to mention it. Me barking like an Alsatian in the middle of the night at the cars driving past… Sorry about that. That’s just how it happened.

Again I had to say “better get a bucket” when we got home. I wasn’t feeling well. And this time I needed the bucket…

The reason for this? Bloody antibiotics. No one told me that I couldn’t drink while on antibiotics… My age was catching up to me. I was at the age where I needed antibiotics every now and again for a major middle ear infection I kept on getting. From swimming to much. Yeah… Surfing was becoming a hazard to my health and my ability to handle my drinks…

And this time? Why did I say “better get a bucket” this time? Popcorn. Bloody stupid popcorn…

We went to watch the new Bond movie on Saturday and I had some popcorn. Of course I had to go all American and decided to add some of that buttery stuff on my popcorn. I gulped down the popcorn during the movie and fell slightly ill afterwards. But I was still okay. I should have known better. I am not used to junk food. We eat healthy stuff at home. I am not a health freak, but I like home cooked food – no crap and no deep fried stuff thank you. My delicate African system can’t handle the rich food over here…

But that wasn’t what made me call for the bucket. No. It’s because I am bloody stupid. That’s why I needed the bucket the next day…

We took the girls to the movies the next day to go and watch the new Madagascar movie. It was cool – hey, it was all about Africa! Anyway… I had more popcorn. With that buttery stuff on it. Even more than the day before. Yes, I didn’t learn from the warning signals of the day before. And this time I really felt like sh*t when we got home. I had to lie down for a little bit. My lovely suffering wife gave me some stuff to “settle” my stomach. And then asked the question… And my answer? “Better get a bucket.”

I didn’t need it in the end. I was fine after a few hours of sleep and some more medicine and ginger ale to “settle my stomach”. But I knew… I just knew… Old age is starting to catch up with me.

Gone are the days of eating a whole pizza on my own and not even blinking. Or not putting on any weight if I eat until my shoulder hurts. (That’s the sign that I have eaten too much.) No more drinking as much as I can. One half of a beer and that’s it really. That little piece of fat that is so nice and crispy on the meat that just came off the braai? No more…

I am getting older. Some call it mature. Yeah right… Better get a bucket. I think I might be sick…

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