pollo pollo

Today was poultry day at the Natural Gourmet Institute. As a vegetarian of seven years, I was feeling apprehensive about participating in the preparation of chicken but I also wanted to learn the proper techniques in cooking poultry so that I would be able to do it in a future job if necessary.

Watching the instructor clean and “dress” the chicken by cutting it up into pieces was a little nauseating. I kept picturing the little chicken running around… Did you know the average chicken only lives 3-5 months? If they are allowed to mature the meat become less tender. Worse than watching the chef hack through bones with his knife was doing it myself. I had no idea chicken carcasses were still so bloody when you bought them from the store, and that when you purchase whole chickens they come with a little baggie filled with their organs. My chicken had three hearts, that’s genetic modification at it’s best (actually it was organic chicken and probably only had one heart in reality but somehow 3 ended up in my organ bag). I never want to have to work with chicken, or any meat again! At least now I can say that I have the ability to de-bone a chicken, even if I would prefer not to.

We made roast chicken

Broiled Pesto Chicken (I made the pesto!)

Chicken Biryani

Chicken Tenders in Peanut Sauce

Pan-Roasted Chicken with a Mushroom and White Wine Sauce

Chicken Piccata

and Chicken Salad

I did not taste any of the fruits of todays labors but I brought home a doggy bag for Dan. He loves meat and always complains about my vegan food! He said the chicken tender was the best because of the peanut sauce. I did try that peanut sauce and it was AMAZING! I think I’m going to recreate it this weekend and put it on top of some noodles and tofu.

While today was not my favorite class of my culinary program so far, I learned a lot from the experience. I had wondered if I was ready to add more animal protein into my diet again but now I realize that I can’t emotionally handle it and probably never will. The chef commented how I had such great willpower to resist the food today, but honestly I think it would have taken more willpower to eat it. I’m still on the fence about fish but I will get a chance to revisit it tomorrow when we have our Fin Fish Practicum!