With time various topics, most connected to the 'ancient ways,' will be covered. Some of these might be controversial in nature - you're most welcome to contribute.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Go Pluck a Duck ...

A few days ago, my son and I slaughtered a duck.  Yes ... believe it or not, this has been regarded as perfectly normal behaviour for hundreds of thousands of years ... until very recently.  For some strange reason, a young child now experiencing the real thing might just end up with permanent psychological damage, scarred forever ... never mind the adults.  It is perfectly normal, for the faint-hearted to dwell in the fancy isles of abundance with high heels, long nails and painted faces carefully selecting perfect cuts of lamb, duck and veal without that realistic 'nasty' connection of what it actually is and how it got there ...  

Strange how the larger part of humanity still experience the whole process of food, from origin to plate ... but in most 'First World' countries, people just don't have a clue ... but they can write books and make documentaries about the 'cruelty' of it all.  They never get their perfect little hands dirty ... never get a understanding of vegetarianism's detrimental impact on the environment ... but the lips and soft fingers can sure talk a storm in a tea cup.

The killing of anything takes split seconds ... the actual preparation takes hours and sometimes months.  It is this process that bonded families .... fathers and sons, mothers and daughters ... friends, communities, nationalities and even enemies.  Have you ever experience the slaughter/hunt and the preparation of your food as a family unit?  If not, then please get into it ... because this was life and real life for hundreds of thousands of years ... this was family time long before staring at a glassy screen, looking at actors speaking false words ... while picking listlessly at plastic food in a plastic tray in front of you became the norm.

In most part of Europe, especially in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy ... communal slaughtering and preparation still take place.  It is something to see, the stories that are shared, the working together and the use of every single part of the animal.

I looked at my son and listened to all the questions while we plucked the duck.  The interest in every part of the duck, from the feathers to every part of the internal anatomy.  We talked about the hunting of ducks from traditional to modern, various recipes, the habits, the killing and the importance of not wasting a single bit.

I told him the stories of Ella, the black lady that worked for my grand parents ... how I helped her from a very young age to slaughter chickens.  She cooked a special dish from the heads, feet and intestines ... all the bits the white people won't touch ... how she used every single bit.

The whole process including the cooking and eating of the duck, took about 5 hours and the amount of information and time we exchanged and shared ... money can't buy.  If the 'psychological damage' part was true, then farm and 'Third World' children would show clear signs of it in comparison to their 'First World' city cousins ... we now know that the opposite is actually the more realistic scenario.

Here in the country I see so many 'city slickers' moving here and the first thing they do is buy chickens, ducks and sheep ... which they refuse to eat ... go figure???  I'm sorry but really, you moved to the real world, but you still can't see it ... you just don't understand.

Maybe .... just maybe it is because you lost the ability to see yourself as part of the food chain, just like any other living thing on this earth.  You have separated yourself from everything else out there.  The fact that you want to get buried where not even the worms or roots of trees can get you ... that you have separated yourself from Nature.  You cover the soles of your feet from the Earth, you lift your backside from the Earth, cover your skin from the Sun, even your eyes and when you die ... you still want to separate yourself from Her.  Every animal, from shark, crocodile and lion that dares to take a human life is hunted and destroyed and displayed as if a victory over Nature.  Where do you think you are heading Mr Modern Human??

All I can say to you ... go pluck a duck!


  1. Ah the synchronicity - less than two weeks ago, I slaughtered my first chicken (a rooster), too.
    It was way overdue but I was finally driven to the inevitability of the act by the parlous state of my hens due to the overpopulation of roosters.
    The hardest part of course was cutting the throat and letting it bleed out. Here I was helped greatly by the sane, respect, almost soulful approach of the lady in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_S3P0eU0lE
    I can vouch for what she said - that it provided a good opportunity to reflect on my own mortality, and an immense respect for the gravity of the act of "taking" a life - or should I say, "facilitating the passing" of a life.
    And I was filled by such a deep gratitude and sense of communion with this creature. As I hesitated with the knife in my hand, keeping a firm grip on him so that there would be no mad and bloody flapping about, I could clearly sense his resignation and invitation, almost impatience for me to now just Do It.
    Definitely a deeply meaningful experience, and I was glad to share it with a friend who slaughtered his own chicken at the same time, and for whom it was also a rite of passage.
    On a practical note, I definitely need to speed up the plucking (more dunking in hot water?) so that it can be completed before rigor mortis sets in!
    A pleasure reading your blog, as always.

  2. I don't like the killing of domesticated animals ... I don't like the killing of any animal ... I've never in my life met an African Bushmen enjoying the act of killing nor a farmer that slaughter some of his own stock for the table. Somehow in our 'modern' society, this 'thing' exists where you must 'enjoy' everything you do? There are a million things in life that is not nice or easy to do ... but someone has to do it. I'll soon 'write' something about the killing of things, with reference to domesticated animals bred for human consumption ...

    In regards to the plucking ... hot water that penetrates the first layers of skin 'loosen' the 'follicles' making it easier to remove the feathers. It is important for the water to penetrate the feather layer, reaching the skin. Most birds have an oily layer, so add a bit of detergent ... use a wooden spoon and 'ruffle' the feathers in the water. Don't do it for long, as you don't want the cooking process to start ... experience will make this an easier process ...