Here's the Beef

Here’s the Beef

Ok, I lied. In this post about a guy I met who saw a deer road-killed on the highway, muscled its massive, hairy carcass into his trunk, butchered it outside his state-of-the-art cottage in the woods and engorged his stainless-steel freezer with Bambi’s handi-wrapped steaks. I bull-shat when I said the guy was a stranger, because the truth is; he’s flesh-and-blood. My husband’s uncle’s first-born son, to pin the tail on the ass. I told another whopper when I said we met at a dinner party, when in reality- it was around our table at an intimate family brunch. Don’t shoot me, I’m a storyteller. Free-range.

Truth. As we gorged ourselves at brunch on home-made crepes gushing with maple syrup and convulsing with old cheese, M (I’m withholding 5 letters of his name because it sounds better this way) cheerfully recounted the inside poop behind his plasma-soaked tale.

When he was all of 7 in the sunny south of France, M’s Algerian father started taking him on his yearly trek to the chicken farm where he would buy live chickens, roosters and rabbits that he would then slaughter, butcher and fry up in a pan. Horrified, riveted, I asked M if he was traumatized by the experience, and he smiled. Sometimes he would let me hold the chicken’s feet as he cut off its head.

WTF. Why are we, why am I so sucked into a bloody story? My deeply non-rural, city-slicking roots, my wordy, indoorsy, Jewish intelligentsia, my dedicated near-vegetarianism and distaste for raw animal guts splayed on a styrofoam plate- rise up, into the delicacy of my throat. I think of my Chicago-born, Harvard-educated, professor Dad. He may be a meat-and-potatoes devotee, but in my wildest imagination, I cannot imagine him hanging a dead animal upside-down to bleed dry, let alone petting one in a zoo.

Then it hits me. Not only was my great-grandfather celebrated for home-brewing his own root-beer and pickling a mean sour, he was the only kosher butcher in Minneapolis, or at least- the kosher butcher. I call my father to check the facts and he tells it like it is. There is blood on all of our hands and meat on all of our bones.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

My father and Zaidye the Butcher

My father and Zaidye the Butcher

If you like this post, check out All Living Things, 1. Click here!

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