The 3rd Blog of Christmas: Freaky Fowl


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“Christmas is coming the
capon’s getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat!”


The Twelve Days of
Christmas song involves flocks of birds, and nothing screams holidays like the
mouthwatering smell of a roast bird wafting from the oven to fill the house.
But let’s face it, chicken and turkey, even goose, have been over-exposed in
Christmas songs and movies. It’s time to look beyond the mundane to less
popular, more pompous poultry. We could have gone Cornish hens, but there’s
something about those tiny little birds on the plates that makes me sad. We
could have done duck, but then all I’d be able to think about is The
Christmas Story
when the duck
arrives on the table with its head still attached. “It’s smiling at me!”

So instead we chose the
capon for this Christmas Eve’s dinner. With my mother’s excellent cooking and
delicious side-dishes, the meal was superb. Although at the risk of sounding
cliché, it kind of tasted like ordinary chicken. So was it worth all the extra
money? Heck, yeah. If for nothing other than pure entertainment purposes, capon
was worth the cash. Why? Well, all you have to do is read what my friend Wikipedia has to say about our
poor bird, and you can imagine the fun we had.
 

Caponization is
the process of turning a cockerel (young rooster) into a capon. Caponization
can be done by surgically removing the rooster’s testes, or may also be
accomplished through the use of estrogen implants.
 

Yup,
capon is a fancy word for castrated cockerel, which is achieved either through
a sex change surgery (paid for by the state of Massachusetts) or by pumping him
up with more female hormones than a Jazzercize class.

With either
method, the sex hormones normally present in roosters are no longer effective.
Caponization must be done before the rooster matures, so that it develops
without the influence of sex hormones.

It’s
very important to feminize prior to puberty, otherwise its hormones messes with
development. As a middle school teacher who’s chaperoned her last school dance,
I can attest to this!
 

Capons, due to
the lack of sex hormones, are not as aggressive as normal roosters. This makes
capons easier to handle and allows capons to be kept together with other capons
since their reduced aggressiveness prevents them from fighting.

There’s
no cock fighting in the capon house. Castrated cocks are civilized and genial.

The lack of sex
hormones results in meat that is less gamy in taste. Capon meat is also more
moist, tender, and flavorful than that of a hen or rooster, which is due not only
to the hormonal differences during the capon’s development but also because
capons are not as active as roosters, which makes their meat more tender and
fatty.

Capons taste better, not
only because they lack masculine hormones, but because in exchange for us
taking their testes, they’re allowed to live lives of leisure, at least until
we kill and cook them.

As you can imagine, there
were plenty of comments concerning our Christmas dinner, which were even less
fit to print than these. But we still ate the sucker, and we laughed, a lot,
and laughter is the best dish any family can share!

 

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