Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Case of the Empty Chicken Egg - My First Experiment

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Childhood is full of adventure. I was big enough then to climb and reach the baki (brooding nest) hanged under the house. I found out that if I leave some eggs in the basket as decoy, the more eggs I gathered in the afternoon. But why leave some eggs that may become stale?

Then an idea came. With a needle, I punctured an egg and sucked the content dry. It tasted good and I made more of these empty eggs as substitute decoy in the nest.

My dad was a balikbayan. He settled down in our hometown, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur, soon after finishing his studies at De Paul University in Chicago during the Great Depression. He put up a furniture business but was ruined by the second world war. Our family managed to survive though and that to him is the greatest blessing.

That evening after discovering the empty eggs dad called all of us and said, "First thing tomorrow morning we will find that hen that lays empty eggs.”

It was a family tradition that every Sunday we had tinola - chicken stew with green papaya and leaves of pepper (sili). Dad would point at a cull (the least productive member of the flock raised on range) and I would set a large basket upside down to serve as trap, and place some corn for bait. My brother Eugene would slash the neck of the helpless fowl while my sister Veny and I would be holding it until it became still. The blood is mixed with glutinous rice (diket), which then coagulates. It is cooked with care to keep it intact before the vegetables are placed.

That evening I could not sleep. What if dad picks our pet chickens? On the farm we call our favorite chickens by name. They were real pets like dogs and cats. I felt sorry, the empty eggs were the cause of the whole trouble.

The next morning after the mass I confessed to dad my secret and even demonstrated it. He laughed and laughed. Soon everyone joined the hilarious moment. And the case of the empty eggs was laid to rest.

We simply picked a dumalaga (pullet) and prepared our favorite tinola. "Bercio, please lead the prayer." Dad said. I did, sheepishly looking at the steaming dish.

Many lessons dawned from my first experiment. I also realized that one just can’t fool anybody.~

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