Sheep for Dinner


Call me crazy, and yes, you may, feel free, but I actually look forward to the occational killing of a sheep on the in-laws’ farm.

The weather is getting really cold so that helps make it more hygenic. We have no walk-in or indoor refrigerator/freezer. It’s all done outdoors in the open, in the bone-chilling cold of the autumn air.

This isn’t your typical American-style slaughter where it’s either done en-masse or by blindly sending some animals off to the slaughterhouse not knowing what is going to happen to them or what is going to come back, as my grandfather used to do. This is just one animal of several that I saw when it was born and watched as half of its siblings didn’t make it through the birthing process; an animal I have helped feed; know how it was raised and treated and what it has eaten, and an animal of which now at the end, I assist in skinning and breaking down.

Just like the “zabijacka” when we kill a pig, or other times when we’re looking for the occational rabbit dinner, nothing is wasted and nothing disrespected. Pelts are sold and skins are treated and re-used; for example, grandma uses the sheep skins for blankets at the farm house or in the TV room for warmth. These guys quietly make their way to our dinner tables but we do appreciate them. It’s work, but it’s worth it. Except for the fact that there are no Greek Gods involved, you could go so far as to call it a sacrifice.

My wife doesn’t particularly go for it, primarily because she says they used to eat lamb or mutton so often as a child that she’s off it now. We also eat so very little meat these days, but that doesn’t put me off a fresh half of a homegrown sheep. It’s up to me to make something so new and interesting it lures her back to the table.

Here’s another person’s post on pretty much the same thing taking place in Romania.

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