That is the question.
A rather horrifying post by Kat.
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In England i met a different culture of `butchering animals`.At home, in Hungary it is absolutely normal to keep `alive domestic meat` in your backyard even nowadays in a town – like chicken, cock, duck, goose…. i remember when i was a little bug playing in our farm on the countryside – my grandparents had a big poultry run with all kind of birds, they kept a pigeon-colony (unforgettable pigeon-consomme soup with carrots and vermicelli pasta on every sunday). There were much more bigger animals as well, a horde of big pigs, few beautiful horses and fat cows (always fresh milk and home-made stuff, curd, cheese etc). I really liked them as a kid – was big fun to feed them or `trying to play` with them.

Usually when autum comes we have a `butchering celebration` (what a name… :S), kind of ceremony thing, when all the family members gather together to kill one or two swines and use all part of it – nothing goes to the bin – NOTHING. Marty has got more experience in this…

The party starts at dawn with lot of drinks, mostly home-made palinka to heat everyone up and good prep for killing, gives u bravery to dirk that innocent creature, parch off the hair (and make such a horrible smell, that u can not hide), to gut and disjoint into small pieces. Such a fun! For lunch time everyone is already drunk – so the food is needed, cooked fresh blood with steamed crushed potatoes and some big chunk of meat roasted in the owen. After eating and some more drinks – back to work and continue the sausage-making and other butchering stuff. I think its Marty`s turn again…

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Khm-khm, what could I say. If I started the pig-story now, this would be a never-ending post. Let me just refer you to one of my FB-folders, the pictures will say it all… Oh, and soon I’ll be going for an authentic hungarian holiday, I’m guessing there will be at least one household in the family slaughtering. If not, I’ll ask my granny to cut a chicken’s throat so we can see some horror.

Love and blood,

~ ~ ~

So thats absolutely tipical way of preparing for a cold winter in Hungary. If i keep a duck in my garden, and one morning i decide to cook it for lunch, i just slit it’s throat and it can go in the owen. Easy.

But here in England it is just not possible. U can not even get fresh blood – the community might think its too brutal and inhuman… to be honest, our society thinks, more weird to lick out some raw `eyeball-textured` oysters from a shell and swallow a big when chew some freshly cooked winkles or whelks. That is much more wierd, than keep your animals in comfortable environment (peace and love) and when the time comes, they die for us and we respect this.

I dont really think, that there is a f*cking big difference if i kill animals for a kind of circus in an opened kitchen to entertain the customers. This is what u can see quite often here. Thanx God there is this wonderful sea with all their small miracles and treasures to enjoy (no, i didnt mean the winkles and whelks again) and unfortunately these type of food needs to be fresh to `stay edible`…

Ignore the emotions and `deep soul-feelings`, killing and preping these creatures from the sea is not even that hard. Before everything, all of them need a big proper cleaning, cause unfortunately the sea / ocean is not as clean as we imagine. If you want to know more about grouping seafood, check this out.

Normally in a fish-restaurant u can meet my favourites, the less popular whelks and winkles (they need to be salted before and cooking for 35-40 minutes, but they still gonna be chewy, because of the 100% muscles of their little body). Quite beloved the mussels and clams family: usually freshly steamed in french style with wine, stock, herbs, butter (or lots of your love, curry, saffron, soy, chilli etc…), or u can find them as a cold shellfish salad with mary-rose sauce (lots of brandy in it!!!!!) and herbs. My favourite method of using them is in paella or risotto, or the really best nowadays is a nice asian-spicy seafood broth with noodles. If u reach this point, u can put a few shrimp in as well, they just wonderful little species (needs proper attention to prep, peel out from the hard shell and de-vein it, discard the `shit` all way down at its back, then u can chuck them in your pan, risotto or pickled veggies :)). Careful not to overcook it cause becomes really chewy and loosing flavours, when the color turns to pink \ red, its done. What else what else…

Ohh… of course, the favourite and posh Mr. Crab and Mr. Lobster hand in hand…

U can by them alive just ensure yourself, that they fresh (who the hell knows, maybe u gonna buy a week old cooked stuff, sometimes the bastards cook them after they die, which is not just not nice, but could be dangerous. The proccess almost the same in the case of kill a crab and | or a lobster.

CRAB: First of all, the fatal stab. The crab`s weakest point is under the tail `in the middle of the bottom side`, if it has got big hairy tail, u are dealing with a little girl, if the tail is small and bald, u have a buddy boy. Need to force it to open up, then u see a kind of really small hole in the middle of the shell… well, stab there. Not easy, u need to grab all the little legs and the crab in your other hand just careful, dont cut your holding hand if u would be that brutal to go thru with your knife in the whole body. And thats it. Few seconds, no more movement.

Boiling water  for 15-20 minutes (depends on the size), cool down with icing water to stop cooking and u can open it up.

We work again in the bottom side, so legs upward, grab theme and u can separate the two sides of shell with one strong push up, discard the small `stomach part`(behind the mouth – but u chuck away this as well with the `face`). The soft gills attach along the edge of the shell – go to the bin. Behind them u gonna find your brown meat, after braking the claws and u will get your sweet white meat. If want to get all the meat and dont mind the dirty job, even can break the biggest-top part of all the legs, really yummy meat hides there.

Good fun and spot on food, only one advise: dont go crazy with this on your first date.

Lets see the other partner… LOBSTER. Decide, if u want to grill it or cook it.

In the case of freshly grilling, the mortal stab actually not one – u need to cut your animal all way thru from the tail to the head – u gonna get two still moving sides of it. Discard the nasty green parts (contains toxins), wash it, brake the claws a bit and ready to go under the grill with huge amount of garlic+herb butter… Dont overcook! – horrible.

If u fancy to cook it in boiling water and use your separated lobster-meat after – do your stab. Not really nice to put your pet into the boiling water alive (probably would try to jump out, maybe attack and hurt u :)), so just dig your knife in the middle of its back, behind the head. U need to hold the body, probably would run and escape. When its done, goes to the boiling water lets say 15 minutes – nice and red. Cool down in cold icing water and open it up:

If u want to keep the two half of the shell to fill up with stuffing again, just continue your cut all way thru in the back, open it and take out the meat, which is in the tail part. If u want just the meat, u can take away the whole tail part with a big break and peel off the shell.

More meat in the claws – need to smash it. Nothing else left then enjoy. If u manage to do this – u deserve every bites after all…

It was not that hard… was it? Much more worse to see the last breath and the flying soul of an oyster, when u open it up and cut the vein… serve on a plate. Bon appetit!

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P.s.  Hereby I’d love to thank you Riddle & Finns for all the knowledge in shellfish I’ve got! Luv u guys!   : *

2 responses to “Kill or not to kill?”

  1. With all the respect… – Naked Pea Avatar

    […] which is pertty hard in my situation working as a chef… like one of my older blog post shows here…. sometimes nessesary… still possible to intent to cause death in a very […]

  2. With all the respect… | The Cook's Nest Avatar

    […] which is pertty hard in my situation working as a chef… like one of my older blog post shows here…. sometimes nessesary… still possible to intent to cause death in a very […]

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