Yesterday we took the second batch of chickens (the slower growing ladies and one giant rooster) to the slaughterhouse. I’m glad I went this time and saw them through the whole process. I have similar conflicted feelings as Andy when it comes to eating meat. Ending lives is sad, no matter what species they are.
It was interesting to watch the whole process of live chicken to food. It’s amazing how quickly it all happens. I’ll spare you the bloody details.
I like to tell myself that at least these chickens died quickly in a slaughterhouse where the human workers don’t seem to be mistreated or exposed to dangerous conditions. The chickens lived their lives outdoors with fresh grass every day. I’m certainly more excited to eat them than any chicken we could buy in the grocery store.
The really hard part of yesterday came after we got the chickens home. First, we cooled them in ice water. We’ve been told that it’s important to cool the meat as quickly as possible. Since we still have almost a week until we cook the chickens, we had to figure out how to keep them fresh and safe for our guests. We talked with people at the slaughterhouse and did some research to find that fresh chicken can be stored safely for a week on ice, as long as it’s kept below 39 degrees. Even though we have two refrigerators, both of them were full when we came home with the chickens, one with mostly pickles and melons. Somehow, though, Andy found space for 19 chickens on ice. We went out and bought some more ice and we’re monitoring the temperature carefully. So far so good.
Sometimes I look forward to the end of this whole project, because then there won’t be so much to keep track of and think about. It seems crazy that, without any prior experience cooking for crowds, we’re trying to pull together a meal for more than 90 guests. But I do not regret taking this on, and I’m determined to do enough planning ahead of time so we can simply enjoy ourselves next weekend. As Andy keeps reminding me, it’ll be great.