I grew up in the city where you can simply purchase almost everything you want. Cooking is done the usual way: Gather all the ingredients you need; switch on the stove, place everything in the pan, and voila! Your dish is ready!
Several years ago, though, we opted to relocate to the countryside. Living in the province has its own perks. It also has its own downsides. Things are more primitive, so to speak, especially for city folks like me and my family. Here, you need to learn how to live a simple life. Eventually, you get to appreciate basic necessities like rainwater (because water comes from the well, you know, and with no rain, you don’t have water!), tricycles (they’re the main public transportation vehicles here, kiddo), and tending a tiny, real-life Farmville in the yard (most neighbors grow vegetables and maintain livestock for personal consumption here).
So, today, we didn’t have any food. I kept squeezing my brain, thinking of a way to actually produce something for dinner (Although, this isn’t your typical sob story. Hence, just keep reading!).
Now, we had this little pet chicken that both my daughter and my brother took care of. Mom bought it a few months back as a tiny chick which, after some time, grew up into this humongous bird that’d wake the whole house up at three in the morning!
I kept looking at it and debating with myself–should I kill it or should I not?! I even texted friends, demanding to know how to humanely dress a chicken (C’mon, tell me. How do I kill a chicken without inflicting any pain? Specific steps, please!). Friends advised me to just do it (and stop whining!).
Therefore, I begged Mom to help me. I had the work gloves on (something we use for pulling water from the well to minimize calluses on our hands!) and Mom had her knife ready. The plan was for me to hold the pitiful chicken upside-down whilst my mom would slash its neck, quickly. Then, I went to the chicken’s coop and got it out, painlessly (It was actually so happy to see me, believing that I was going to offer it food! Sigh.). Next, I hollered for Mom and we got ready to kill the poor thing.
So, there I was, grasping its feet whilst Mom held her “sharp” knife (She swears that she sharpened the kitchen knife, thoroughly, using the hasaan or whetstone in English). Then, I closed my eyes and wished myself far away from the scene!
Fortunately, and a big thanks to my mother, the “Slash! Slash Slash!” of the ratty knife did kill the pitiable chicken, swiftly. To make sure of it, my mom even wrung its neck (Like, they really do that, she informs me). Then, she ordered me to do the Herculean task of dressing it and cooking it for dinner.
Sans further ado, I cleaned it of its feathers and maneuvered a trial-and-error of slicing it into “eatable” pieces–you know the drill: remove the internal organs from the body; find the bile and throw it; figure out how to separate the excretory system from the other parts, etc.
After about three hours of trying not to faint, I was finally able to cook a proper tinola (Filipino chicken stew). Mercifully, everyone declared that the meal was delicious!
All in all, the abominable activity was a success (Sorry, chicken!). You see, I love animals and I, too, denounce any type of cruelty to them. Yet, there are those inevitable moments when you’re truly compelled to enact certain things in order to stay alive. Cheers!