The weirdest part about trying to make an A in a butchery class is being required to butcher dead animals that have a carcass. So far I have cried a total of two times. There are several levels of crying, so I’m just saying that my level was below one that warrants embarrassment. It was more of an inside-cry-slash-mini-tear-duct-fill. Nothing fell out of my eyes. Before anyone thinks I’m a loser, please relax. It’s not just me. Most people that don’t eat animals are probably sad when they butcher meat. Just so you know– fish are also included in this necessary culinary school butchering catastrophe.
My chef instructor used to be a real live slaughterhouse worker. Do you think he has time for people almost crying in his butchering class? No. He does not have one single second for such nonsense. No chef, previous slaughterhouse worker or not, has time for a culinary student to display such wimpy behavior. He should have kicked me out of the kitchen for having an inside-cry-slash-mini-tear-duct-fill in his presence. This is how I feel, so it must be true.
So far I have taken a whole chicken and cut it into what seemed like 42 parts. While this moment did not resemble a murder scene, blood could be seen on my knife. Gasp. Our class filleted a round fish and a flat fish while heads and tails were still attached. This hurt my feelings in an above average way. When ducks are delivered, the duck neck is stuffed inside the body. Guess what? A duck has very big wings. I cut these wings off during class a couple of weeks ago. I also helped my partner make dirty rice that day using at least four diced duck hearts and six duck livers as ingredients. Next week we are butchering a veal’s leg. That’s right. After that, we are taking a pig apart. Please do not forget about the lamb cutting and foie gras dish listed on our course syllabus.
All of this drama is the fault of my lousy 4th grade granola teacher. She decided to traumatize our class by showing a slaughterhouse video. Some guy in a lab-looking coat did something to cows lined up in a row that made each one instantly collapse. Don’t forget— 4th grade is the same year my Doritos sleeping bag was thrown away. Thanks. Thanks a lot.
Is she crazy? Yes. Was she eventually sent to a mental institution on Bull Street in Columbia, South Carolina? YES. Who shows 4th graders a slaughterhouse video? She’s the reason I’ve been left to live a life without meat. It’s her fault I had a mini-tear-duct-fill during butchery the other day. I tried to contact her recently to tell her how I feel, but Google quickly confirmed she died a couple of years ago. Upon reading about my 4th grade teacher’s unfortunate death, I decided to stop having negative feelings about her ruining my life. It’s the right thing to do.
I have the best chef in the world. I’m not just saying this because he might read this random story of butchering sadness. I’m giving this compliment because this particular chef is not messing around. He refuses to let any of his students let themselves down– ever. While his experience as a chef is inspiring beyond words, it’s his passion that keeps me going. He has stayed after class more than once to try and help me mentally figure out a way to get over what happened in 4th grade. Everything he has said makes sense. Respecting an animal is extremely important. Using as much of the animal as possible is the way cooking should be. He is trying to help me somehow separate myself from the process and understand the true beauty of what we are creating.