Spade a Spade
I picked chard from my garden. A big bunch washed, chopped and combined with chicken and onions, the whole thing went in a creamy, curry kind of direction. I was wondering if, seeing as I blog now, whether my home grown concoctions were worth sharing. Then I thought "but the chicken isn't organic and the onion not home grown". I wondered whether by admitting this that I would render the chard and chicken dish unworthy. Worthy of what? My consumption? (It was too spicy for my 4 year old's developing palate and as only us parents would eat it I didn't need lament the dish in terms of health) So yes I could eat it, but should I eat it? That poor chicken went through god knows what so I can get some cheap protein, but I don't want to hear that, no one does! We want platitudes and prettiness. We have become a species that can't abide reality. So I really had better not mention the slug then. It was a very juicy one, hang on let me see if it's still where I placed him back in the garden so I can take a photo.... Nope.. he's long gone. I don't have an epidemic, just the odd slug and snail and some very beautiful wasp spiders so I don't feel a need to try eradicate them. The slugs get some chard - we get some chard - we try not to accidentally eat the slug; it's all good. But seriously, why do most of us refuse to look the truth of matters in the eye. Why do we feel we have to deny and hide stuff even from ourselves? I eat meat and though we've cut down on beef we still consume milk and dairy products. It's so hard to know how to even shop for ourselves these days, we are bewildered to witlessness from the fear of protecting our health and ensuring that the stuff we consume is ethical. However hard it is though, ethical and healthy consumption must be the way, so let's get some things straight. Let's call a spade a spade.
We want to eat chickens that have had happy and calm lives. We want them to almost jump onto our plates (like that cow in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy*), but the fact is that chicken will die for us and they really would rather not. So, if we eat meat, should we keep our heads stuck in the proverbial sand of blissful ignorance and denial? Buying organic, free range and ethical produce is an important step, but it requires a leap headlong into it. I'm still a half way house, I relapse, (I even had KFC a few months back!) and in my fervour I ponder about becoming a vegetarian, even a vegan.
There is so much said about what we should avoid consuming in terms of our health, ethics and sustainability. It's a veritable minefield...... Have you ever made cheese? The amount of waste product (whey) is huge. I tried using it to make drinks and to fertilize the garden, so for commercially made cheese we can but wonder how much ends up down the drain. You thought having micro articles of plastic in fish was bad but what about the seas being polluted with cheese waste product? Just eating cheese has become a liability in about 15 different ways (and I'm not gonna even mention the cow!). It's all a deep and contentious subject so for now I'd like to leave it at this.
If we want to make changes we have to know which ones to make. To do this we need a healthy dose of unadulterated facts and honesty. I thought I'd just chuck some random ones out there to see how we all cope: Chickens die before we eat them. Let's tell our 4 year olds. Slugs and spiders live in gardens and are all part of the same ecosystem as us.
Healthy gardens have a shit load of well... shit spread over them so that the vegetables grow. Let's stop being squeamish. And while we are at it. .... The penis is an organ that is used for urination, sexual gratification and for reproduction. The vagina is too. What the heck?! I hear you say. I know that seems gratuitous, but what I mean is this: We have to stop being such prudes and so blinded by platitudes; they only serve to ram our heads entirely up our own arses! (Oops! I mean they only serve to blind us in ignorance and fear) While we want everything packaged in pretty, safe, innocuous and child friendly versions and deviant of truth we have lost all the organic connections that held us together with each other and the planet. We have become an aberration and a living, walking, unwitting satire of sense. If you tell your kid the truth from the beginning they will grow up to be a part of the truth. They will be able to make the changes that we can't because our heads are full of lies, banalities and airy fairy tales. We have genitals, sex and appetites. We eat and we poo etc etc. We are responsible for all our actions. We are different from the slug in my garden in that we have a frontal cortex that allows all sorts of exclusively human abilities that if we don't use render us lesser than the slug. So for example, if you eat meat, be aware, totally, and make sure your kid is too; the animal dies. Death happens to all of us, let's not lie about this. If you have genital organs don't make them taboo.
Make lies taboo. Goodbye for now from me, the slug and the dead non organic chicken.
*Cow that wants to be eaten. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Photo: The "spade' in the photo is actually a trowel and I couldn't find a slug right now so I figured a worm would do. It was not harmed of course.