Flight feathers

Feather, France © Tanya Clarke 2013

Feather, France © Tanya Clarke 2013


Many years ago when I was twelve, someone gave my Mum two dead pheasants.

For eating. My Mum wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. One of her friends came over and they decided to pluck, gut and cook them for lunch. My Mum had been told to hang the pheasants for a number of days - or maybe it was for a month - for flavour. After that they started to smell.

My Mum and her friend started to pluck the pheasants creating billowing clouds of feathers in the kitchen. Un-plucked the birds were pretty small. Undaunted both my Mum and her friend prepared the birds to be cooked. I don’t remember them taking the organs out but they must’ve done. I do remember trying to pluck some feathers. It was harder than I thought and I kept tearing the skin. In the end I gave up. Or my Mum stopped me.

The birds were cooked for our lunch that day. They weren’t nice. Tough, heavy meat that didn’t taste like chicken or turkey. It tasted of something that I didn’t like. We never had pheasant again. And thankfully no-one ever gave us another one. Or two.

I’m reminded of this when our neighbour recently offered us a bucket of freshly caught crabs. A thank-you for helping him get back into his house after he’d locked himself out. I declined. As graciously as I could. None of us like crab.

Please do share your own stories in the comments below.