Saturday, December 21, 2013

Stop The Christmas Slaughter!

I grew up in a family of great cooks.  If you've ever seen me, you'd know this right away.  We love to eat and we all love to cook. 

The holidays were wonderful because Mom and her other sisters would bake.  Usually the day after Thanksgiving was the big one.  All day long Mom would be in the kitchen baking cookies, cakes and pies. 

One of her specialties was molasses cookies.  They were perfect with just a bit of ginger.  No molasses cookie would last beyond a week and people were constantly bugging her to make more.  As the years progressed, her molasses cookie bake-a-thon consumed the day.  Hours and hours, using up huge jars of molasses. 

And then, shortly after turning 12, my dad took me hunting for pheasants in November just before Thanksgiving.  He made a comment, "Yeah, your mom is really going to need a lot of molasses this year.  Your uncle and I are going to need your help.  Besides, it's time you learned how to do this for when your wife bakes molasses cookies." 

The following week was one of the most traumatic events of my childhood and permanently scarred me for life. 

I always thought molasses was made from some grain or sugar, or something like that.  But no, it isn't.  Molasses is just as the name implies--the asses of moles. 

I was horrified to learn this. 

How could a body part of a rodent taste so damned good in a cookie?  How was this possible? 

The slaughter began early, just after dawn.  My uncle had a hose stuck in a hole in the ground.  When there was enough light, he began pumping water.  My job was to whack a mole with a club when it stuck it's head up. 

We must have cleared a dozen fields that day.  Hundreds and hundreds of tiny, furry little moles.  Innocent creatures.  I would bash their heads in and throw their carcass in the back of the truck. 

By the end of the day, blood ran under the tailgate of my dad's Chevy pick-up. 

That night we skinned and carved the little moles up.  Dad showed me a few tricks and how to hold the knife.  It was a grim assembly line.  My uncle would skin them, Dad would chop their little asses off, and I would grind them up in a large meat grinder. 

Blood got everywhere.  My shoes, my pants, my sweatshirt.  By the end of the night I looked like I had just chopped up an entire sorority with a chainsaw. 

We put the mole's asses into a jar with some sugar, then with the lid off we put them in a water bath that was slowly heated with a wood fire.  Eventually the water boiled and the mole's asses cooked, combining with a few other ingredients my uncle threw in for good measure. 

By morning the next day, we had about a dozen large jars of molasses.  And I haven't eaten a molasses cookie since. 

It's time we end this senseless slaughter!  It's time we stop murdering moles so we can have good cookies.  Yummy, delicious molasses cookies. 

Mom doesn't make molasses cookies anymore.  I stopped hunting moles when Dad died.  I refuse.  It's one family tradition I just cannot follow.  Mom understands and doesn't press the issue.  Truth be told, I think she's happy to not have to slave away in a hot kitchen making cookies all day.  And I'm fine with that. 

The question is, are you, dear reader?  It's time to write your congressman and all those fancy food magazines.  Perhaps Anthony Bourdain can be enlisted to help us, too.  Once Rachel Ray realizes the error of her ways, I'm sure no more molasses recipes will appear in her magazine or show.  I know from experience Martha Stewart is a lost cause because she actually enjoys the slaughter.  I've seen pictures.  She was smiling. 

She was smiling

1 comment:

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