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Sometimes my nose gets in the way [Oct. 8th, 2012|02:55 pm]
Here’s the thing: most of the animals we use for food, I have spent some fair measure of time with, while they were upright and walking around. And not just in “oh, I petted a cow once at the zoo” or “the people down the road had sheep” kind of a way, but in an intimate (euwwww, not THAT kind of intimate, you guys are gross!), up close and personal kind of way, administering medications, cleaning up after, stitching them up, unstitching them, assisting in births of, euthanizing old ones, raising young ones, neutering the ones in between. Being bitten, knocked over, trampled, kicked, scratched, pooped, peed and bled upon. Being snuggled, nuzzled, followed around, and napped upon.

And my sensory memory, unlike my memory for where I put my keys, what my mother’s cell phone number is, and what is 7 times 8, is Olympian. Paired with an acute sense of smell and touch, that means that right now I can remember what a wet chicken smells like (not good), or a coop ready to be cleaned out (not good either, but if it’s not filled with damp chickens, bearable). My horse Damien had an odd acrid body odor that I was never able to pin down until I met his father – neither one of them had that great horse smell, but Damien at least would jump anything and was more dog than horse to me, so I forgave it. He would have been that kid in middle school who always smelt a bit…off. But I still have that smell in my head. And all the other horses in the barn. But yes, in my head a veritable catalog of all their smells: their exhalations, their farts, their sweat, their excretions, their burps, and that warm feathery/furry contented smell of each of them.

Which can be a problem. Someone gave me a lovely pair of goatskin gloves. Soft and buttery and….smelling vaguely of goatsbreath. Every time I got those gloves near my face, I smelled goat and got all distracted thinking about the time we had to dose the neighbor's goat with whisky and the day I learned to milk them and when that one bit the bejeebus out of me, so I had to give them away. Goat cheese tastes, to me, a little too close to the way a goat’s body smells. Milk just has that slight tang of eau de cow burp. Chicken breast, especially poached, that vague sulphurous quality of both egg and chicken coop. It’s not that I suddenly think of the animal and then am grossed out by the thought of eating/using it, in a cruelty or other tristesse kind of way – it’s more like I get an entire flash of associated memories associated with that animal and it always includes the gross stuff.

And the giant pile of pulled pork I made last Thursday, as I stood over its steamy porky goodness….pigsbreath. Which led to slops, and tusk cutting, and neutering and vaccinations and giving them baths and…

Damn it. Almost put me right off my food. Thank goodness for BBQ sauce.

[User Picture]From: pyratelady
2012-10-08 07:42 pm (UTC)
This makes me wonder how farmers who live and work with those animals manage to eat them or use their products. Do they abstain? Have they become inured to it? Or their brains don't process all of this like yours does? A little from Columns A, B, and C?
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2012-10-08 07:48 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's like me and food safety - at a certain point, everything's become so heinous that your only choice is too starve or get over it....

But I suspect a wiring issue in my brain.
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-10-08 11:47 pm (UTC)
We weren't farmers actually but we did raise animals to harvest for food. We didn't butcher the proven hens rather collected the eggs. However if you got a straight run of chicks there'd be quite a few roosters and well - don't name your food.

As for beef, we'd breed back the milk cow. She had a name. Her calf wouldn't (except when my son was being really sarcastic and would call it "food" as in Here Food ::sigh::). Same with the pigs - mamas had names, babies didn't.

....or maybe I'm just real fond of home grown non-antibiotic or growth hormone beef and pork and chicken :D
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-10-08 11:22 pm (UTC)
sooooooeeeeee pigpigpig

We raised our own pigs -strictly small scale, have a few butchered, keep 2 sell 2 or 3 back to pay the butchering costs.

Then dummy me thought gee let's make a pet out of a (potential) brood sow. She was so friendly and so well trained my ex-father in law gave her to his grandson to show.

You see where this is going don't you? ::sigh:: For a long time, bacon reminded me of Petunia (yes that was her name - HUSH).
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