The butcher job

Yesterday I’ve got the chance to use my hatchet knife. It was the first time I bought one (a few month ago), and I never had anything to chop into pieces. Why did I buy a hatchet knife you might ask. Well, it’s a long story.

Note: this post is really a long story and it has some creepy details that involve the dead flash and a hatchet. If you are sensitive about this sort of things, maybe you should probably avoid reading this post altogether.

A couple of years ago, Olga and I were doing some Christmas shopping in Woolworth (now Ermes, but I still like the old title better). Since it was Christmas time, there were all sorts of special offers. One of them struck us as unexpected (meaning we didn’t think about it). The offer was – for everyone who made purchases for over 100 CYP (or 150 CYP, I don’t remember exactly), they would give a free turkey.

As I said, we were totally unprepared for this offer. When the clerk told us that we should (!) have a free turkey, we just looked at each other, then back at the clerk, and agreed. Only when we brought the damn bird home we realized that it weights almost 10 kilos, that it is deep frozen, that it doesn’t fit into our fridge as a whole, that it probably won’t fit even if we chop it up, and, the best of all, that we don’t even have a proper knife to chop it up. Now that was a confusing situation.

On one hand we had almost 10 kilos of bird meat. On the other – we didn’t have any means of processing it. Even cooking it as a whole was out of the question. Firstly, because the bird was hardly fitting our over. Secondly, because neither Olga, nor I had any experience with cooking turkeys. And thirdly, that our flat was too small to fit the amount of people that could consume all this food within a reasonable amount of time (say three days).

The problem seemed to complex. Management 101 suggested that we should split the problem into smaller, managable chunks. So we started chopping the bird into pieces. I guess, it was similar to mining with fingernails. Just imagine the 10 kilo deep frozen thing that you have to chop into smaller peices with a kitchen knife of an average size. Boy, I didn’t even have a knife sharpener back then.

Anyway, we succeded in breaking the thing into somewhat smaller pieces, cooking some of these and fitting the rest into the fridge. If my memory serves me right, we were eating turkey for breakfast, lunch, supper, dinner, and a little turkey sandwich before going to bed.

Most of our friends had a piece of it. Many of them tried it in different cookings. Some still hate turkeys to this day.

The last pieces of that turkey body were thrown away somewhere in September of the next year. Yes, it took us more than 8 month (!!!) to consume the thing.

Somehow, the chopping part of the processing got into me and I decided to buy a hatchet knife and knife sharpener. Just to be on the safe side. Although I was pretty sure at the time that we will never ever again have a turkey at home. Even if it came knocking on our door free of charge, than chopped itself into pieces, cooked some of itself and put the rest of itself in the fridge. Nope. Not for us. Still, I bought the knife.

It turned out to be a good decision. Because yesterday we bought a full turkey bird again. It’s good for Maxim to have eat some turkey meat occasionally and it was enough reason for us to put everything aside.

When we brought it home, I was somewhat glad that I had a proper knife to do the job this time, and felt enthusiastic enough to start right away. The bird was approximately the same size as the last one I saw. It wasn’t as deep frozen though.

When I unpacked it I had the first surprise waiting for me. This turkey had a head. The dead white eyes were staring at me. I was paralyzed. And scared. I hate this stuff. I think when something is dead, it should stare people in the eyes. It’s just creepy.

Olga was encouraging me to behead the damn thing. Pretty much this looked like the only way to go. So I put the head and the long head on the table and hit it with my hatchet. It went pretty deep, but not deep enough. The head was still attached to the body. I hit again aiming at the same place, but I missed. It took me about five or six hits to do the job and if the poor thing would have been alive, I’d be burning in hell right after I did. It was so messy! Gladly, the blood wasn’t coming out of anything yet. Otherwise the kitchen would have looked like a screenshot from “Saw” movie…

After I was done with the head I felt a little bit better. Now it looked like your average bird for cooking. I turned the piece around back and forward expecting it, trying to find the places to apply my knife to.

Legs looked the easiest. So opened its legs as wide as I could, checked the inside, and started carefully cutting the skin. Then I found the place where legs get attached to the body and tried to push and pull. I heard the cracking sound and realized that legs are easily broken off. All I had to do was to cut skin and muscle gently in a few places.

Wings came next. They were tougher than legs, because it wasn’t apparently clear where they connect to the body. I was chopping and cutting and pushing and pulling and turing it all around. Somehow I managed to cut those off too.

I had no idea what to do with the rest. There was a lot of meat left on the carcas, but I could think of a way to separate things nomore. It was round like a ball. Inspecting it for five minutes or so, I decided to cut off the meat off the breast and be done with all the rest.

After I finished, I had se7en plastic bags with turkey parts – two legs, two wings, two briests, and one with liver, kidneys, heart, etc. The carcass still had some meat, but it wasn’t worth the effort. So it was put into a separate bag, to be given to cats.

When I went to the bathroom to wash my hands I came to realize what I have done. It all came to me in a strange englightning thought that sound like this in my head: “Leonid, you’ve just become a man.”. I have no idea why I thought that. I am not even sure that I agree with it.

Why am I writing this? I am not sure. Maybe I am proud of myself. Maybe I want to remember this incident. Maybe I think it’s a good example of something. The one to follow, you know. You pick.

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