Sunday, May 1, 2011

Eating Crow


It seems as though every time I declare some new ultimatum, plan or declaration it is immediately doomed for failure. Somehow just vocalizing (or writing) that thought almost immediately sets the wheels of destiny on a crash course toward dismantling said ultimatum, plan or declaration.

I'm not sure if that can be blamed or described best by karma or the whim whams of an impulsive mind, but either way, the results seem the same.

Maybe the Rolling Stones really sized it up best, "You can't always get what you want, but you get what you need". I'm sure you have some of your own examples of this happening. It surely can't just be me.

I'm suspect some of this stems from the fact that I am self-actualized enough to know I'm a great STARTER but not such a good SUSTAINER... you can read more about that at this post .

Making a good Crow Stew takes years of eating bad crow dishes before you get the ingredients just right.

Here are a few of my top of mind examples:

1. A dash of Sixth Grade Band. Remember when the local music shop people would come to school and parade all the cool instruments through music class one Tuesday and get you all worked up to play an instrument and be part of the band regardless of your innate musical abilility (or in my case, lack of). Well, I was completely susceptible to that sort of rabble-rousing.

In fact, I vividly remember going home that afternoon and having a throw down, uncontrollable sobbing fit in the corner of my bedroom wedged up against my dresser with my Mom and Dad standing over me patiently trying to convince me that I did NOT need a new trumpet to play in the band. I remember screaming through hiccuped sobs that they never did anything for me or let me do stuff (totally not true in retrospect, but hey I had preadolescent hormones running a muck). They said I would not stick with it and they were not spending $600 some dollars on a brand new trumpet even if it was in 30 easy installments of $20.

I was NOT going to be in the band.

The next day my Dad came home and told me there was a lady he worked with who had a used trumpet I could use and that I could indeed be in the band if it meant that much to me. It did, it did. I made promises and declarations about practicing and taking care of my instrument, etc. etc. etc.  You know the drill.

Hugo the Abominable Snowman: "Just what I always wanted. My own little bunny rabbit. I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him..."

Well I did NOT love that trumpet. I did not name it George.  In fact, it was pretty gross really. It had this little spit valve on the bottom and after blowing into it for a bit it quickly filled with spit and you had to release it so it would drain out that bottom of the thing onto the floor. I'm pretty sure no girl EVER got a boyfriend by playing the trumpet. Also, that thing stunk. Literally. It had been in a box in the lady's attic for what must have been at least 20 years because it smelled like must and mold and creepy, stinky attic things.

Also, I did not, it turns out, like practicing. I'm pretty sure my parents weren't especially appreciative of my trumpet talent either. Trumpets are loud. Even when you try to play them softly. Alone, a trumpet is not a particularly pleasing or soothing instrument. No one is going to be lulled to sleep or get all gushy listening to a trumpet. It is also not going to inspire screaming hoards of groupies. Most likely it's going to be more of a repellent.

It became quickly apparent to me as well that I really had no natural musical talent and from the looks of it very little hope for improvement. The progress and success was too slow. I found no joy in the repetition of playing scales and meaningless lines of notes. I could not play any recognizable songs. It quickly began so seem rather a waste of time and effort.

It repelled me. I think I lasted a few weeks.

I'll bet my parents were really, really glad they did not buy me that brand new trumpet because I would not have lasted through the first two easy payments.

I'm sure it had happened before, but that is the first time I clearly remember eating some crow.

2. One cup of Becoming a Marine Biologist: I loved Jacques Cousteau. That man was my idol in late elementary into junior high school. Since it was pretty clear that being a rock star of any sort was out of question I became bent on reading about Jacques Cousteau. I had one book of my own about marine life that was about him and I read everything our school library had about marine life (especially dolphins). I was consumed with the man and the ocean.

Some how I got found a catalog (probably in the library at school) that detailed trips through  Earthwatch . They had trips that teens could go on to do everything from helping to get tiny sea turtles into the sea after they hatched to studying dolphins and whales. For only $2,985 plus air fare your teen could go TODAY to study said whales and dolphins off the coast of Scotland! I wanted to GO! I scoured that catalog and got myself on the mailing list so I would receive more and more of them and I studied every expedition description dreaming of going on one.

I'm sure I asked my parents to let me go at some point. I'm equally sure they said no because I never got to go.


As I got into high school and took the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), I began to realize that to be a marine biologist you had to have lots of science classes which also meant lots of math classes. Science was pretty fun. Math was my nemesis. It wasn't long before dolphins and marine biology and Jacques got put onto the back burner and I began to hatch a new plan. 

 I'll bet my parents were glad they didn't sent me to some far off land to study dolphins. Not even for 145 easy payments of $20.

I'll save the remaining ingredients for a fine Crow Stew for another post. But if you'd like a sneak peak you can ponder these:

3. One pint of Moving to NY to be a journalist.
4. One large cleaned and quartered piece of Having children.
5. A sprinkling of Diets.


Or you can try the real thing if you are really adventurous. No I haven't made it but if probably tastes better than the metaphorical stuff.

Crow and Mushroom Stew

3 crows
1 Tbsp lard/shortening
1 pint stock or gravy
2 Tbsp cream
1/2 cup mushrooms
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper

Clean and cut crows into small portions and let them cook a short time in the lard/shortening in a saucepan, being careful not to brown them.
Next, add to the contents of the pan, the stock or gravy, and salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
Simmer 1 hour, or until tender, add mushrooms, simmer 10 minutes more and then stir in cream.
Arrange the mushrooms around the crows on a hot platter.

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