I am roasting a chicken. I know, I know, alert the media. For you it may not be a big deal, but for me it is.
I became a vegetarian before I learned how to cook. In fact, one of the things that may have kept me from learning to cook was my fear of dealing with meat in all its oozy ickiness. Once I realized that I could skip that step, I started cooking every vegetable and starch under the sun with great glee.
In my life, my meat cooking experience is as follows: I have cooked about 3 roast chickens, not counting this one, for my dear dog Goldie when she had an upset stomach. This one is being sacrificed because my mom alerted me that it was on sale for 57 cents a pound.
I also worked briefly at a terrible family restaurant, where I was such an incompetent goof that I wasn't trusted to cook meat much, but I did have the privilege of making 300 meatballs a couple times a week and also of removing chicken parts from these disgusting large plastic lined boxes that were inevitably awash in smelly chicken juice.
So for me, roasting a chicken is a Huge Deal. First there is the buying of it. I feel as shamefaced as an AA leader picking up a fifth of Vodka. There is always the thought "What if someone sees me buying this disgusting thing?" I have to remind myself that normal people buy chickens sometimes and no one bats an eye. No ID is demanded.
I bring it home feeling like I have a bag of radioactive waste. What if I spill some of the juice on something? What if it contaminates my fridge? Aren't chickens seething with bacteria? I hope I have enough clorox to dispel this paranoia.
Then my least favorite part - the disassembly. What are those little bloody pads they put in there in the bag with the bird? You know what they look like. I don't have to say it. And it does not pique my appetite.
Then why, oh why do they shove guts and parts inside the creature's body cavity? I can think of no circumstance where I would want these slippery things, but now I have to remove them. That involves touching the chicken. How do you people who do this all the time stand it? The clammy flesh that feels, well, just like dead clammy flesh. Urk.
And then the poor dead thing is lying there looking for all the world like a decapitated human, all fleshy and bumpy with the butt at one end and the missing head at the other. By this point, I am almost weeping for the little animal. Why, why must chickens die?
Ok, that's a bit overwrought and PETAish. But still. But it IS pretty disgusting, no?
On top of all my guilt over the roasting chicken, I can hear it in there spewing grease spatters all over the oven. Did you know that vegetarians almost never have to clean their ovens? Really! No grease! It is super.
Do you think it is odd that I eat fake chicken (Quorn, really pretty good) for dinner and make real chicken for my dog? Yeah, me too.
Goldie will be so happy though. She has no guilt over the murdered chickens. Or squirrels. Or rats. But I draw the line at chickens. No matter how many times she asks, I will not roast a rat for her.