Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My first kill

I have done it. My first kill. I am now a man…. er woman. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Everyone has different ideas of what Peace Corps is or what PC service might be like. When I first thought about my PC service I imagined myself living rurally, maybe no running water or electricity, walking or riding a bicycle as my only means of transportation, having a garden and, of course, killing my own food. When we first arrived to Manila for our initial orientation, it became apparent to me that my PC service would be quite different from this, what with the SM City Malls, McDonalds, lots of city pollution, and even the fancy hotels I would stay at during PC conferences. Don’t get me wrong, I love my PC service in the Philippines, and I do live quite rurally (and at the writing of this blog I don’t have running water) but I am also not living is some hut in the middle of nowhere... Everyone’s PC service is different and mine has been and continues to be a great one!

When I was in the States I was not a big meat eater. I ate mostly vegetarian meals at home and when I did eat meat it was only poultry or seafood. This is not out of a dislike of killing animals (we are omnivores after all), but rather out of dislike for how our farms are run in the US. Here in the Philippines there are no CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) and most of the livestock are allowed to graze. Even though this is more sustainable method of farming I still do not eat much meat, out of trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. Add to the fact that most of us PCVs usually live more vegetarian lifestyles just because of our living situations. Not having access to a refrigerator and not knowing what to do with the parts of the animal you don’t eat means that few of us venture to cook meat at home and end up eating mostly veggies and rice.  So although I occasionally bring home a whole fish to fry up, I usually don’t buy meat and even if I did, the animal I would be buying is already dead and bought at the open market nearby.

But I digress….

The other day I was hanging out with some of my volunteer friends. Rob had just been on a trip to visit another volunteer and while he was there he killed and prepared a goat for dinner, cooking it a multitude of ways including one in which he ate the brain. This of course brought up discussion about the times Jensen killed a chicken and Elliott killed a pig. And that made me realize my lack of killing experience.. so although the thought of killing a live animal intimidated me a little, I realized it was time to achieve a PC milestone (at least in my book) and kill myself some dinner. So we talked to our Filipino friends and Jensen’s counterpart offered to donate a chicken to me.

It was a beautiful white, native Filipino chicken. And it was dinner time.
say hello to my little friend

Now there are different ways to kill a chicken but since our Filipino host wanted to make adobo (a native and very delicious Filipino meal) and they wanted to be able to fry up the blood to eat afterwards (it taste rather iron-like), death by bleeding was chosen. Jensen’s counterpart, Jolie, held the chicken for me and even plucked a few feathers on the neck to clear a spot for the cut. With knife in one hand and the chicken’s head held outstretched in the other, I ended the chicken’s life. Or at least attempted to…. I thought I could make it a quick slice. But after two tries I realized not only was the knife a tad dull, but there were virtually no marks on the chicken, who seemed to look at me like “really?” So I mustered up some strength and cut true.

We held the chicken tight as the warm blood drained into a bowl on the table. Once the deed was done we boiled a pot of water and dipped the chicken’s body into it to help with plucking. Plucking was not so bad, the hot water makes it very easy for the feathers to slide out. Though apparently I was a slow plucker since Jolie decided to “help” me and then just told me “I will finish” as he took the chicken away from me…

So that’s the story of my first kill. And it really wasn’t that bad. After all if I’m gonna eat the animal, I should probably know how it got to my table. I’m not saying I will be killing a lot more chickens in the future, but when I get back to the States and go to the grocery store to pick out some organic, cage-free chicken breast, I will have a better understanding of the life that was taken so that I could cook up a delicious meal.

.............And that chicken adobo sure was delicious!
taste even better when you kill the chicken yourself!

Until next time!


  1. Ahh I love chicken adobo! I'm too chicken-s*** (ha ha ha) to kill an animal here in Thailand, but if I work up the same amount of courage as you, maybe I'll have my host family let me give it a go.

    Congrats on the milestone!

  2. congratulations!!! you kill a chicken... lol