11 August 2010

Bring Me Chicken Anytime!

Back when I was in college, my Mom had a moment of inspiration and had a portion of the backyard fenced off so we could grow bibe.

Because I had vast experience in the care of animals as the family’s piggery and poultry boy, it was but natural that I would have a hand in the growing of the bibe.

Anyone who has had a pet bibe, of course, knows how totally endearing they are when just a few days old. Since they have tiny little bird brains, they do not bother to wonder that you do not have feathers and instinctively follow you wherever you go thinking that you are the mother duck.

One can get really attached to them. As I did, growing what I came to think of as my bibe.

For some reason, I developed this habit of whistling to the bibe whenever I brought them feed pellets to scatter on the troughs. The dogs would, of course, come scampering but lose interest once I closed the gate of the wire enclosure.

In time, the bibe came to associate the whistles with the pellets, craning their necks high in anticipation and turning their heads this way and that as only ducks can do. The dogs had, by that time, learned that it was a waste of time to yap. The food was not theirs.

One summer night when there was a full moon, I got up to go to the rest room but found it difficult to go back to sleep. I opened the windows to look outside, saw that the bibe sat huddled together inside the enclosure under the moonlight.

I happily whistled at the shadowy figures and could not help but smile when the necks craned instinctively upwards.

A few more weeks elapsed and the bibe had shed their fine little bibe down to grow coarser feathers and red leathery patterns over their heads and eyes. My Mom was also beginning to cast longing eyes over them…

Then, one day, the time I denied to myself would ever come finally came. Mom felt that the bibe were large enough and had a couple put to the sword – I mean, knife – for roasting.

I preferred, of course, not to be present while two of my beloved bibe were being decapitated. In no time at all, they were stripped of feathers, disemboweled, cleaned, stuffed with aromatic veggies and spices and laid neatly atop a charcoal grill.

To be perfectly honest, the golden roasted bibe looked quite inviting on the luncheon table. I had fried eggs, of course, the handiest alternative when what was served for dinner was not quite up to my liking.

Mom, of course, had these persuasive powers and, much as I loathed the idea, she managed to cajole me into stuffing a slice into my mouth. I chewed and I chewed and I chewed… but just could not bring myself to swallow it, as though my throat had constricted at the very thought of eating my beloved bibe.

It was like cannibalism!

A strange one, this note, huh? Triggered by the string of NGC features on the Beijing Olympics, one clip showing Chinese chefs busy inside a kitchen with what looked like hundreds of dressed ducks hanging upside down from hooks attacked to metal bars.

Each, I imagine, would end up on a restaurant table as the famous Peking Duck. Not that I really care. For reasons now obvious, I really don’t like duck. Bring me chicken anytime!





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