I have already told you all about my PaPa Josh, the hunter, fisherman, extraordinaire. And my Sara MaMa, who cleaned and cooked everything he killed and brought home. Whether it was from the bird family, deer, fish, squirrels, or reptile. He killed it, she would clean and cook it. De-feather it, de-bone it, de-skin it. Snakes, frogs, all of it. They cooked and ate all of it. I should have grown up in that house. I would have a much greater respect for cows, chickens, and pigs. And I would probably be a lot thinner person. Because I would not eat. I don't want to put any of that in my mouth. Much less, chew and swallow it. Snake meat, squirrel stew, frog legs or baby birds. I'm not gonna go all "Bambi" and say that's what I think about when I hear about eating deer meat. It's not. It's just because it's a deer. I guess.
I am a city girl. We lived in concrete neighborhoods. Your only property was behind your home, and it had a swing set on it and a fence around it. No one had land for miles, as far as the eye could see. No one woke up with deer standing in their yard. No one was standing in their yards on Saturday morning with a BB Gun aiming to shoot a squirrel. Out of a tree. Cities have police for that. And neighbors don't mind calling them. Stand out in your yard, front or back, with a real gun too long....they make jail cells for that. And your neighbors, and the local police, will help introduce you to one.
When we moved to Quincy, to the country, it was refreshing in many ways. Zachary was born to hold a BB Gun and shoot squirrels. When he was five, he thought he was made to shoot birds. Pretty birds. Cardinals and Blue Jays. We had to make a rule, what you kill, you must be willing to eat. We do not kill for the sake of killing. I did however, bend this rule for squirrels. I could not feed the pretty birds, for the nasty squirrels eating all my expensive bird feed. It was like opening the gates of heaven for Zachary. You could not step out into our yard without a signal. Lest you get a BB in your behind.
I'm glad Zach and Mims aren't much for hunting. I don't care anything about cleaning all that mess. And they don't eat squirrel. Or squirrel stew. Thank the Lawd. We fish. And I have to be honest and say, I don't clean them either. Mims and Zach do that. I do however, bait my hook now, with worms only. Crickets move and their legs feel like roaches on your fingers.
I wish I could eat the likes of quail and deer meat. That I could forget about it being pretty birds and graceful deer. Did you notice, when quail are cleaned and dressed, getting ready to be cooked, they look just like pretty birds in a ballet pose! That alone, keeps me from putting them in my mouth. Ballet! Pretty birds posing like ballerina's! I can, however eat chicken, straight off the bone. I mean the leg bone, and gnaw on it I'm talking about! Unlike my friend Debbie Carboni (might be an Italian thing). All of her chicken must be de-boned. She doesn't even want to see it on the bone. Reminds her of "where it's been" I guess. I don't know what the difference is for me. I cannot explain it. None, I am sure. It's all a mind thing. But when you're finished reading this story, cruise back up to the top. Take another gander at those pretty ballerina quail (courtesy of my friend, Angie Wilson Davis) . I do have to be honest and say, I saw another picture of them cooked. What a beautiful piece of artwork my friend Angie created with them. Wrapped in bacon, stuffed with cheese and jalapeno, and basted with a raspberry sauce. Almost makes me think I could eat them. Maybe. If no one told me. When it all started. It was a pretty ballerina bird.