I ate my childhood pet

When I was in elementary school I learned about guinea pigs.  I don’t remember if this was a classroom pet or if heard about them at the library, but I wanted one! I went home and told my mom that I would like to have one as a pet. She said that she didn’t know a thing about how to care for such an animal and that I’d have to do some research.  I went to the library and found a book and read and read about guinea pigs.  I may have done a formal presentation and shortly afterward I came home with Toni.  She was a brilliant orange guinea pig from the humane society.  She slept in an glass aquarium on pine wood chips in a room I shared with my sister.  Toni learned to drive a Barbie Corvette (there is evidence of this in family photos) and squeaked for lettuce and other veggies on a daily basis.  She was the first of four guinea pigs that my sister and I cared for and as she aged her orange coat changed to white, but she always squeaked for lettuce.   When she died everyone in the family shed tears. Fast forward to 2014 when my sister and I traveled to Peru. We have traveled together on many occasions and make it ha habit to try interesting and delicious food.  We knew that people eat guinea pig in Peru (they call it cuy) and weren’t sure what we would do when faced with that decision, but I secretly think we were both hoping to avoid the situation all together.  We did not. On one afternoon we stopped at a weaving demonstration and were served a traditional farmers lunch complete with a chunk of our childhood pet.  I took a deep breath and figured that it was already dead so I should make sure it didn’t die for nothing.  It tasted like rabbit and there were tons of tiny bones.  My childhood pet was not tasty. IMG_3559 I am, however, confident that this guinea pig had a happy life before it was my lunch.  In Peru guinea pigs have great accommodations.  They eat table scraps and grasses and their manure is regularly cleaned out and used as fertilizer.  Families don’t have to buy more guinea pigs because they multiply rapidly.  When there is a need for a quick protein source you have them right there at home. Voila!


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