A key family member has told me that I killed a chicken. I believe the exact words were: “you rung its neck.”
I was maybe three years old so I don’t recall the event. My grandparents were farmers. Among other animals, they raised chickens. Perhaps it was chicken season or something? I don’t know.
Regardless, according to my father: I have engaged in the act of killing my own food, at least once.
I grew up in Idaho, farms on every street corner (er, county road), fishing aplenty, hunting the norm. And here we have Idaho… the home of the potato. Land of food.
On long family car trips my parents would point to fields of green and comment, “oh, look at that wheat” — or barely, or corn, you fill in the blank.
I would stare dumbfounded out the window scanning the rows of green for a sign. I don’t know a potato field from a cucumber farm.
Despite growing up in Idaho, I understand very little about farming.
Or where my food comes from.
I never learned to cook. I didn’t have to.
Food magically appeared on my plate from my mother, “Mama Sling”, who had a passion for cooking.
I detested the idea of cooking, it felt like punishment. Plus, I had other important things to learn, like perfecting my basketball game and failing to understand algebra.
I can still see Mama Sling waving her spatula in the air, “Jamie, I can teach you how to cook. You’re going to regret this if you don’t learn from me.”
I refused and happily chose to do the dishes instead.
I went off to college where food also magically appeared. As an adult, it was easily obtained from restaurants and prepared food aisles in the grocery story. And, now, from my fabulous boyfriend, Justin, who loves to cook.
Like the great leprechaun Lucky would say …it’s magically delicious.
Or more appropriately for me …it’s magically Starbucks and The Cheesecake Factory.
Mama Sling taught me many amazing and wonderful things about life.
Unfortunately, she died before she could share her own special knowledge of the kitchen, her passion for food, our secret family recipes.
And she was right. I regret not learning from her. I just wasn’t ready.
But, now I am.
So for this year, I have a two-step strategy:
I have immersed myself in a yearlong program through Integrative Nutrition. I am learning about food… a lot about food. I will write more about this one, trust me.
I will cook every other night. It will be my day to shop, prepare and cook …something.
I don’t plan on ringing any chicken necks. I do plan on being more involved in my food choices, and better understanding where my food comes from.
Somewhere Mama Sling is pleased.
And shaking her head saying, “I told you so.”