Over the past few weekends, both of my kids have had friends sleep over for the night. For my daughter, it was more of an orchestrated event with a particular movie, snacks and sleeping bags. For my son, it was just a place for his buddies to crash after a party.
Before going out to the party, my son asked his friends if they wanted to see the chickens. “You have chickens?” said one of the teenagers, as he gave me “the look”. If you have backyard chickens, I know you have received “the look”. It’s similar to a polite smile that screams “This guy is crazy!”
As we entered the coop, I watched their reactions to the chickens. It’s generally the same for most people : 1 part caution, 1 part fear, 1 part interest. Maybe it had something to do with me possibly saying something about “attack chickens” that fostered more of the fear part.
For my daughter’s friends, the fear part must have dominated their reactions because nobody even asked to see the chickens. Not even after I promised fresh eggs for tomorrow’s breakfast. Maybe they just didn’t care. Maybe the movie JAWS was too captivating. Maybe, they were just being kids. Anyways, it got me thinking more about our alienation from our food source and the fact that most urban kids (and adults) have very little or no connection with the food that they eat. I’d bet that most of these young people have never even seen a chicken up close and they have a preconceived notion that chickens are just dirty barn yard animals. That might explain why the girls had no interest in visiting the hens.
It’s too bad that we’ve created such a disconnect from our food source over the years. I know it’s easier to just go to the grocery store to buy those eggs, sausages, olives, canned peaches or whatever. But, with that convenience, comes a lost opportunity to learn, create, share and take pride in your accomplishments.
So, with that said, I got up earlier than usual and prepared breakfast for our guests. The menu included “backyard fresh” eggs, homemade potato hash, bacon, and homemade biscuits with last years’ blueberry and strawberry jam. Everyone got their first taste of “farm fresh” eggs, though I’m not sure if they were really impressed. Afterall, they are teenagers (or soon to be), who live in the moment, and are more interested in stuff that I do not understand or no longer hold of value. But, I do hope that our brief “lesson” regarding our food source stays tucked away somewhere in the archives of their brains.
Maybe, when they become men and women, the memory of our breakfast together will come back and they, too, will want to plant a vegetable garden, raise some chickens, or take an interest in making sausage or canning some pears, or………… “OK Dad…… stop talking so much and pass the potatoes!”