Tuesday, September 7, 2010
A Family Feast in Crimea
After watching them for awhile, I went inside and started helping the sisters chop and peel vegetables--mounds of carrots, onions, potatoes, garlic--taking out time to have coffee and green tea and of course, talk. One of my other jobs that evening was grinding of sheep meat to be used to make dolmades (stuffed peppers) the following day. As I was chopping up chunks of meat to be fed into the grinder, I thought of that living creature whose eyes I had looked into not so long ago, and whose body I now held in my hands and was making preparations to eat. Not since I was a child on my grandparents farm and watched the caged up chickens before their slaughter (one of which I let loose and got into big trouble) have I been so close to the connection between animal life and the meat I eat. Maybe it is the connection with mammal's that is so profound, as I have also frequently caught fish and killed and ate them. I just couldn't and still can't get the vision of that sheep's face from my mind. I tried to thank the sheep for giving its life so I can eat, but somehow, I don't think it is enough. But I continue to eat meat at my neighbors' homes and when I go to Crimean Tatar restaurants. Perhaps this experience will help me to remember what it is I am eating and to be consciously thankful that an animal has given its life for my food.
Finally I went back to my house, enriched by yet another Crimean Tatar experience and full of love for this wonderful culture I have found myself in.
Thanks, Barb, for sharing this. More posts from Peace Corps Volunteers to come, and of course, all of our Pickle Project readers are invited to share their stories and memories about food traditions in Ukraine.