Thursday, August 13, 2009

The chicken and the egg

Today , I ate an egg that I collected- the freshest egg I have ever eaten.

IT feels nothing like the fresh eggs off super market shelves.The yolk is almost orange, it is difficult to remove the shell and it is the best egg I have ever eaten.

Happy free range chickens give tastier eggs? The hens in this farm are bloody bold. They don't run away at the sight of humans like the hens I've met before. When I am digging up something , they are always around waiting to eat the worms that surface. Chicken hearted?

Not really.

Imagine a human being brought up in a factory of other human beings, caged in a certain space , fed certain foods with chemicals in them. Reminds me of some schools. What can come of a human being like that? I am not quite suggesting that free range chickens grow up in an intellectually stimulating environment - roaming around at thier free will and hence lay better eggs. I just made an association that I felt that I had to write down .

I am random like that. Ever wondered where the expression ' getting laid' came from?

See, I told you.I am random .

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On the source of food

Picking peas, strawberries, blackcurrants and other such fruits that were once only ice-cream flavours
Or packed in supermarket shelves at best is what I have been doing.
I am working on a farm in Ireland for some time.
It is amazing how we have been convinced that we can only survive with a supermarket.
And it feels incredible to go into a smelly hen house and collect fresh eggs. Even if for a short period, it gives a sense of perspective to be connected to the source of where our food comes from.
Children growing up in cities rarely have an understanding of where food comes from.
I spent last weekend with my cousins in England. While we were watching TV, an ad was telecast that showed a potato being dug up from the earth , all the brown mud bursting out.
My little cousin said ‘That’s disgusting’. Her parents tried to tell her that the potatoes she eats at home are harvested like that. She didn’t believe it.

Perhaps , that’s more so in the West. Meat is cut up and packaged in supermarkets. In India, no matter where you live, you are not spared the sight of the corpses of goats and cows hanging from hooks in small butcher shops.Two incidents convinced me that I could never eat meat again .

The first was when I was seven years old. It was Bakrid. A man brought three screaming goats and their screaming caught my attention.
I went to our garden to look at what was happening. He slaughtered those goats one by one, painfully and their blood flowed down the veranda creating a little stream of blood on the street.
That image stuck with me.Forever.

The second was much later. I was in college and passing through a narrow street in an auto
I suddenly saw a goat twitching his legs ever so slowly. He was barely moving and you wouldn’t notice it if you didn’t see carefully.
When I looked at his head, it was half off and a man was holding it with a vessel of blood that dripped slowly underneath.

I am not per se against the consumption of meat. It’s natural to eat meat and my vegetarianism is a personal choice. I still think that two things are important. One, that we kill animals in the most humane way possible. Factory farming is not just inhumane, large scale factory farming if ill managed can have terrible consequences.
When I was in Singapore many years ago, I was chatting with a taxi driver. He said that his son had been asked to draw a a chicken in school. He drew a packet of fried chicken being sold in a take away joint.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bruised , battered in Belfast

Before being enticed - you voyeuristic bitch -about why I am bruised and battered in Northern Ireland, curious to know what my Troubles are and eager to participate in an sms poll,
I am at a beautiful backpacker's hostel with a church outside my window.
Belfast is at times quiet,restrained,removed and at others bursting into giggles.
Think good Christians walking in grey dresses to church.Think loud drunks enjoying Irish live music n the pubs.

Earlier today I went to an American diner. Yes. My standards are indirectly proportional to price of food.

So, this diner had recreated the real American diner with pictures of motels and clever American flag art , there are all these big bikes around .

Pray, tell me- why recreate America when Europe is outside with her churches and her grandeur.
America is fascinating , Yes . Don't jump at me for generalizing beloved epidemics.I am not really against Americanization.
All that I adored about America was its authentic (by my South Indian perception) Mexican,Chinese,Cuban, Soul food restaurants.And in a city of millions, I had one person who I had something in common with - the human interest in food. What else did I really like about America?The museums
Can't think of much actually.
Oh yes i am bruised and battered because of the enormous toll carrying around huge rucksack has taken on my shoulders, soul, and entire being . My now frail hands even broke the keys while attempting to open my room .