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old mc donald had a farm June 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — panthergirl @ 11:09 am
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Isn't that just the way it always happens!!

Years ago, almost 20 years ago, I gave up eating red meat.

I left home and started shopping for myself and discovered meat came in little black trays with plastic over the top.

When I was a kid, one day, every week, my father would jump over a fence, jump on a sheeps back and cut its throat. Then I'd stand around with my sisters and my brother and the dogs and we'd watch him skin it and then hang it in the "meat room" for a few days until we cut it up and ate it.

One of the dogs would get the head and the chooks would get the stomach bag. Usually after I'd jumped on it a few times to try and break it.

Believe me, they're tough. But if it breaks, the smell is eye watering. But the chooks love it.

So anyway, we'd all stand around with little bowls or tupperware containers, waiting to collect the offal that we'd take up to the kitchen. I mean it was nothing to open the fridge and find a tupperware in there with a label on it saying –  Emjays Brains.

And look, when I say the meat room, what I mean is a hot tin shed with gauze walls. My mother always told me not to take too much notice of the use by date of lamb at the shops. Basically if its not green, it's ok. Dad would hang them by the back legs in this shed to let it…..ripen?…..mature?…..flavour?  whatever you want to call it.

So when I left home and started buying meat, I started wondering how many hands the meat had passed through before it reached my plate. And what conditions had the animals lived in before they ended up on that tray.

So then more recently I started thinking, well if I don't eat meat for that reason I shouldn't eat chicken either. Because they live in atrocious conditions before they are killed. So I try to only eat organic chicken. Because I like to think my chickens were happy and running free before I ate them.

So I thought, well I need to eat more fish. But the problem is, I don't like fish. Unless its salmon, or ocean trout. And these days, with the prices they are, you just about need to trade one of your children in for a nice piece of either. So today I was standing at the deli and I saw they had a fish called orange roughy, and I thought, I'll give that a go. So I bought some home and cooked it for dinner and it was beautiful. It was about the nicest white fish I'd ever had. And I decided there and then that I could live on orange roughy. I could eat it every day.

So then I went and researched it.

As you do.

And I discover that the Australian Marine Conservation Society has just listed it on the endangered species list due to overfishing. (Which is why mine came from New Zealand I guess). And that even there it has been over fished and the stock is severely depleted. And the Australian Marine Conservation Society has a notice out saying DON'T BUY OCEAN ROUGHY. And because I suffer from severe environmental guilt about everything, I'll never be able to eat it again. And not only because of that, but because I read that they can live to 125 years old. And I just can't stand the thought that some little fish has been swimming about happily for 120 years then all of a sudden he gets caught up in a net and ends up tossed in flour and on my plate.

And isn't that just always the bloody way.

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35 Responses to “old mc donald had a farm”

  1. Hannahbanana Says:

    I think the moral of that story is don't ask, don't tell πŸ™‚
    I used to be veggie until about ten years ago but I still sometimes consider going back, for the reasons you mentioned.

  2. Oh this is heart wrenching, Cat!I admire you and your consideration for the greater world. And I reeeeeally admire the fact that you have seen the process of where meat actually comes from, but in a good way that honors the animal. I wonder how many people could do as you did as a child in helping your father. I know I couldn't. Having been brought up in a city this never was an opportunity for me.

  3. Paxton Says:

    And I reeeeeally admire the fact that you have seen the process of where meat actually comes from, but in a good way that honors the animal.

  4. Candy Sparks Says:

    so did you like eating the lamb? just wondering… i do love fish… and i normal by fresh water or free range meat and eggs…


  5. that isn't what i meant.i meant that i felt they honored the animal by taking care of it … not caging it and mis-treating it like factory slaughtered animals.

  6. i am also, a vegetarian.

  7. Rev Stan Says:

    I was a veggie for 13 years until I discovered I was intolerant to wheat, dairy and soya but I love eating meat and fish now. Completely agree about only eating animals who've been well kept in good (and sustainable) conditions. However I think one other moral of your story is that when you were growing up every last bit of that lamb was eaten. There is so much waste today and I'm sure if we all ate more varied cuts of meat and all the other bits and bobs we wouldn't need to rear and kill as many animals, it would be better for the environment (less land for grazing etc) and cheaper. For example I find it frustrating that if I want a chicken with the giblets so I can make a good stock or use them for something else I have to specially order it. Where do all those giblets go? And don't get me started on use by dates…

  8. I'm veggie now, but as a kid growing up I used to watch my grandmother whack the head off of some poor chicken, and while it was still twitching, dip the body in boiling water to loosen the feathers for plucking. Somehow I never had any qualms about eating the chicken after it was slaughtered, but I knew where the chicken had been and what it's life had been like. My grandmother treated her chickens well, and I never questioned the idea of the chicken giving up its life so I could have grilled chicken teriyaki for dinner. Now, as you point out, it's more difficult. Factory chickens do have horrible lives before they end up wrapped in plastic in the grocery store, and they're more likely to be sick. I like fish, but my favorite, tuna, is tainted with mercury, and even sardines are disappearing from the Mediterranean and other sections of the world's oceans. And not even soy is an innocent feast anymore, as rainforests in Brazil are being cut down in order to grow soybeans to fill a world demand for the stuff. I don't think NOT eating is a good alternative, though. πŸ˜‰ I just try to make thoughtful choices and not take my food for granted. Which is something my grandmother also taught me.

  9. Raymond Says:

    Emjay's Brains? hahahahaha, and in a tupperware container? Cracking!

  10. Waterbaby Says:

    I love all fish, with the exception of uni (raw sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe). Orange roughy is wonderful.

  11. Paxton Says:

    i meant that i felt they honored the animal by taking care of it … not caging it and mis-treating it like factory slaughtered animals.

  12. cat Says:

    I've no interest in read meat anymore but when I gave up chicken, after a while its all I could think about – I'd have killed for a bit of chicken schnitzel. So Now I go the organic every now and then. I don't seem to carry too much guilt over chooks for some reason.

  13. cat Says:

    When you grow up on a farm it's just a part of life so we weren't squemish about it. My husband was a city boy though and the first time I took him home Dad chopped a chooks head off and Daz stood there with the funniest look on his face. lol, those little city kids don't relate meat in plastic to animals running around.

  14. cat Says:

    I think Australians eat way too much red meat. Although it's very expensive – it'd be hard for me to feed five people on it every day anyway.

  15. cat Says:

    I loved it back then. Mums roast leg of lamb was one of my favourite meals. And lamb chops. But we at so much lamb that it was always a treat to have a roast chicken as well. Now I can't even stand the smell of lamb cooking in the house (I still cook it for my husband and kids every now and then). I always buy free range eggs as well. In fact we're thinking of getting a few chooks.

  16. cat Says:

    I'd never go back to red meat now, been too long, can't even stand the smell. But I do love a bit of chicken. lol, we definitely used all the sheep and I agree about the waste of food these days – disgusting.
    Where do all the giblets go I wonder – probably into sausages or rissoles

  17. cat Says:

    lol – I eat a LOT of tuna – trying not to think too much about them, I just try and make sure the brand I buy are careful about not catching dolphins in their nets
    I'm starting a vegetable garden soon – thats what more people need to do – grow their own fruit and veg and have a few chooks

  18. cat Says:

    They were one of her favourite parts of the sheep.

  19. i had to look up what on earth a "chook" is. it's a chicken!!! πŸ˜‰

  20. cat Says:

    lol – get outta here!! No one calls them chickens here – always chooks, now you have a new word to use.

  21. Emjay Says:

    See? That's what's wrong with me – they kept taking my brains out at night and putting them in tupperware! A lot of times mum would cook the sheep's brains as soon as I walked in with my bowl. She would flour and fry them and grind black pepper over – they were really good!

  22. i know! i love it!you guys have way cooler words than we do.

  23. Raymond Says:

    So you each had a part of the sheep that you considered favorite? And yours? And did you enjoy shearing the sheep, or did you do that? And in posts past I recall Emjay mentioning she learned to drive by driving the combine or some kind of farm machinery. So, how extensive was this farm you ladies grew up on? I don't recall having ever asked and not sure why I never asked. But you both write warmly and lovingly of your childhood experiences, so I was just wondering. Oh, if its too broad a question, I don't mind just waiting for the answers. I'm sure one or the other of you will tell it in its own time. πŸ™‚

  24. cat Says:

    Hmmm, you almost make me feel like a plate of them – are you still a fan of brain?

  25. cat Says:

    Well I didn't like the brains, but I did like the liver. But my favourite part was probably a chop or cutlet or whatever you call them. under the griller so the fat was all crispy.
    I think we had 2500 acres – it was all sheep and wheat where we grew up. And no we didn't do the shearing – teams of shearers travelled around and did that. It was always a pretty exciting time.
    lol, ducks on the pond – thats another good old australian saying. The shearers would yell that out when a girl or woman walked into the shearing shed so they all knew to stop swearing and carrying on.

  26. Raymond Says:

    Actually I don't think there's anything wrong with you—they were probably concerned that with all the responsibility you had, keeping all your brains in one place might convince your dad that you really were not a dim wit, that you in fact, had a whole tupperware tub full of brains! Uh, and personality, but I couldn't work that into the tupperware metaphor thing… πŸ™‚

  27. Raymond Says:

    Is that where the expression 'she's ducky' comes from? I've heard of it, or read of it, but generally in British literature. Ducks on the pond, interesting expression.

    Twenty-five hundred acres! So that's why you girls were taking so active a part on the farm, but I guess everyone was busy doing something. On a farm that size, and back then, everyone must have had many somethings to do. It must have been an exciting time, and I can see how you may have earned your work ethic. πŸ™‚

  28. cat Says:

    No – nothing to do with calling someone Ducky – thats a british thing I think – bit like calling someone dear

  29. Raymond Says:

    Ahhhh, well I'm trying to keep up with the new words, in Australian speak, but I'm beginning to think they may be different than the Queen's English. But sometimes they seem the same. Emjay wrote a post a while back on the differences of words. Something about a purse is a handbag, a sidewalk is a pathway, I don't remember it all, but she sure went to town with the idea. She must have shared 15 things with us that had a different word than we call it. And I was going to ask you about 'chooks' but you answered before I could show my ignorence. But you did use the word 'griller', so what's a griller? πŸ™‚

  30. cat Says:

    hmmm a griller – lol, yes I see spell check doesn't like the look of it. Well you cook food under it. A red hot element you put food under to make it brown and crispy. like cheese on toast. Or lamb chops. What would you call that?

  31. Emjay Says:

    A griller is what you call a broiler here. I love the word "chook" and use it all the time here and enjoy the puzzled looks. That's very clever re the dim wit recollection! You have an amazing memory.

  32. Candy Sparks Says:

    my friend used to have chickens… they were the coolest things ever… until the police came and told her that she had to get rid of them because there are no chickens allowed in city limits…


  33. Raymond Says:

    I think Emjay's right about a broiler, and coupled with what you said about cheese and toast, oh yeah, being a guy, a grilled cheese sandwich is a masterpiece of culinary cusine that even I can achieve. I'll have you ladies know that I can make a grilled cheese sandwich three different ways! With Doritos and beer, with Cheetoes and beer, and that old standby, "sure, yeah, okay, whatever you want to fix for supper is fine, really…" πŸ™‚

  34. …. I thought after 3 days any meat left out of the freezer… decays…. O_O

  35. cat Says:

    yeah, I dunno how it works, but it always tasted good

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