Tag: memories

How My Fear of Chickens Began

How My Fear of Chickens Began

One thing I get made fun of a lot for is my absolute hatred of chickens/roosters. Like many hatreds, it stems from fear. I am terrified of chickens. Irrationally so – very out of proportion to the damage that any chicken has ever inflicted upon me. I have an iffy relationship with most birds – I don’t know anyone who has been randomly attacked by birds as much as I have – but chickens are evil. I don’t care that yours lets you cuddle it, carry it like a baby, etc. I’m very happy for you – I can appreciate the cuteness of it all, and am willing to believe that your chicken in particular is not evil, but chickens as a species are evil.

Now, I’ve only had a few close encounters with chickens – I can only actually remember two – but one ended in sheer terror and one in blood. To be fair, I had many before my memory kicks in, but they don’t count.

When I was about 2 or 3, my family rented a several hundred year old farmhouse in the Netherlands that came with a coop o’ chickens. And a rooster named Stanley. He was the meanest rooster anyone had ever met, and yet he’s not the one I had an issue with.

One day my naive, happy, dare I say carefree, toddler self decided to help feed the chickens. Which is something I had done before, and I was with my dad, so what could go wrong? I walked into the coop with my container of feed (I remember it as a bowl, but it was most likely a bucket) and was immediately swarmed by chickens pecking at me. In my mind, the sun was blocked out by the mass of chickens, and in my terror I threw the bowl-bucket across the coop in the hopes that they’d leave me the hell alone and none of them left.

I don’t know what my dad was doing at this moment, probably laughing at me from the coop door thinking that this was a great turn of events. And then the screaming started.

My shoes were untied.

The chickens saw my shoelaces and decided that they looked much tastier than anything I could have possibly brought in the bowl-bucket and descended upon me en masse. It seemed like I was at the center of a chicken tornado, but I’m sure there were like 5 of them at most and I was just in the center of chicken rainstorm.

I don’t remember what happened. I’m told my dad swooped in, picked me up, and hustled me out within seconds. My memory tells me that I was there for literal hours. I don’t even think I was harmed in any way that wasn’t psychological.

Many years later, Shane decided that I should overcome my fear and told me that the chickens at his parents were super chill. In a not-surprising-at-all turn of events, the one I tried to interact with pecked me on my hand and I started bleeding.

After that, I would only go into the chicken coop when there were kittens in the henhouse and Shane stood in the doorway with all the chickens in the little chicken yard area.

So I’m glad that your chicken is gentle as a lamb, and I will always tell you how adorable you are cuddling it in the yard or whatnot, but please stay over there with it. I’ve spent 30 years afraid of chickens and I’m 100% fine continuing for the rest of my life, thank you.


Remembering My Mom Through Food

I think about my mom a lot, sometimes I imagine the conversations we would have about whatever’s going on in my life. I’m lucky in that while memories hurt, I enjoy thinking about her. I still like to poke fun at her, to be honest.

A lot of memories associated with my mom center on food. Dinners growing up, holidays, special occasions – and the random gourmet level recipes she made with my brother. But even more than that there are specific dishes that are tied so tightly to her in my memory that even considering making them makes me feel closer to her.

She made a specific potato salad – one with Russian dressing – that wasn’t in the recipe box I got after her death. I found a close-enough version online and while it needs some tweaks, it immediately made me fall into a well of (happy) memories. “Brown Rice” aka stick of butter rice that would be fought over by everyone. It was the best side to another Mom memory – soy sauce marinaded flank steak with horseradish.

I’m realizing that the rest of these are pretty standard family holiday foods – mashed potatoes with “too much” garlic, green bean casserole, crescent rolls from a can, specific types of cookies, fudge, etc. The sight of a little dish with tiny gherkins and both green and black olives. There have to be both types of olives, it’s the law. Even the process of canning or making fresh pasta makes me think of my mom. I want to learn to can things because my mom did and I want to share that with her.

She also passed down an interest in grocery stores in other places. I think it comes from growing up/living in a small town – we had to drive 2 hours away to get a lot of the ingredients my mom and brother needed. Standing in a fancy grocery store buying things that my childhood home’s stores would have never carried is imprinted in my mind. And getting the mini coffee at Fresh Market feeling very grown up.

We went to New Orleans once, just the two of us, and we hit up the grocery stores as soon as we could. Regional differences in food and the way grocery store are made are a real thing. Shane has indulged my need to check out grocery stores in the cities we visit for years now.

There were so many long, loud dinners and those memories really carry me through some of my worst times.

Sorry if this is rambling and doesn’t make much sense. I just wanted to get this “down on paper”.