Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Wagon Of Death

I'm particularly excited about our dinner tonight. We're having roast chicken. Normally this is not noteworthy, but I thought those of you who don't live in a rural area might find this interesting. Today was slaughter day at the Henkel Farm. The Henkels run a sideline chicken production and about every nine weeks it's curtains for the birds and fresh chicken for us.

So that all small chicken producers don't each have to buy chicken processing equipment, there is, what I like to call, The Wagon Of Death. Some entrepreneurial genius created a chicken processing assembly line that fits into a trailer. When it's your day to slaughter chickens The Wagon Of Death rolls up to your farm-- you just rent it for the day.

We drove over to the Henkels this morning and picked up our birds. The Wagon Of Death was in their back yard and the garage was converted into store-front for the day. All the chickens were floating in a cold water tank. They had us down for three, so when we walked up they pulled three chickens out of the tank, weighed them, calculated the cost and dropped the chickens into ziplock bags.

Of course Phoebe, Moses & Oliver were disappointed they didn't actually get to see the slaughter. They asked if next time they could pluck their own chickens. They asked if next time they could chop the heads off their own chickens. I told them to talk to their father. They were pleased, however, to go into the barn and see the 400 new chicks already fattening up for the next big day.

Right now in my oven is a chicken that, just this morning, was running around the Henkel Farm. It's never been frozen. It's never been shrink wrapped. It's never sat on a styrofoam tray. It's never been on a truck or even in a grocery sack. Five years ago I wouldn't have even thought such a thing possible. I knew there were farms and farmers out there somewhere, but it was all pretty hazy to me beyond the swinging doors of the meat section at Schnucks.

I stuffed the chicken's cavity with a chopped apple and fresh oregano, rosemary and sage from my garden and then filled her up with a quarter of a bottle of chardonnay. I rubbed her skin with some olive oil and sprinkled her with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Yum.

Wanna come over?


Angela said...

Sounds wonderful Em! The clown camp story was hilarious!

emdunbar said...

what's clown camp, if not funny?
thanks, angela!