Shhhh – it’s a secret


storm at sea

This truly is a secret!

I was terrified.  Clinging to the railing of the ship for dear life as it tossed and rolled in the heavy seas, I looked around to make sure no-one could see me. This was not a place I was supposed to be in. Especially not in this weather. And especially not as an unsupervised seven year old.

My mouth was full of mush. I had rushed out of the dining room gagging. Why? Because I was eating pureed  baby chickens. Or at least that’s what I had been told. We were travelling to Australia by ship. Just Mum and us three kids. I was (and still am) the baby of the family. Dad was already there. He’d gone ahead to see if it was worthwhile for us to join him from all the way across the other side of the world.  It was.  So here we were. Travelling with a whole bunch of  other migrants. And a translator on board who was too busy flirting with the ship’s officers to do her job.

The menu was in English. None of us could speak, read or write it. Mum ordered the one thing she knew and had decided was good for us to eat. But the thought of little baby chickens being killed, cooked and mushed up for me to eat was overwhelmingly horrible. I was devastated. It made me feel ill. I couldn’t do it. So every dinner time I rushed on deck and threw up. Six weeks of  having to pretend to eat mushed up baby chickens.

In hindsight I’m sure Mum eventually found out what I was doing because she started sneaking crackers and cheese from the dining room to our cabin for me to eat. But the baby chickens kept on appearing at dinner time.

I’m curious to hear what’s your secret?

 Submitted to the Sandbox Challenge 21

©  Raili Tanska

Image Pixabay

10 thoughts on “Shhhh – it’s a secret

  1. OML!!! Is that truly what it was, or had she misunderstood the menu??? Oh! I would have barfed all over the place, too… That’s a good one! I mean, no it wasn’t good, but it was a good life experience to relate — I think! 😮

    1. It was pureed chicken. She had someone translate it for her. I just had it in my head that it was baby chickens – that may have been my overactive child’s imagination. We never had chicken in Finland. In fact it may well have been my brother deliberately embellishing the facts 🙂 I still feel queasy thinking about it.

  2. Oh my goodness, what an awful thing for a seven year old to go through. It is like eating your pets. Thank goodness your mum caught on what was happening otherwise there would have been nothing of you left open arriving in Australia, not to mention illness.😊

    1. Yes, I guess it was pretty awful. I don’t have a lot of good memories of the boat trip across to here. The milk tasted awful. It was made from powder. The first thing we did when we docked in Fremantle was to head to the nearest milk bar and buy the biggest glass of ice cold real milk. I can still taste it! And then there was the pineapple. Deckhands used to give out trays of fruit to kids. I’d never taasted let alone seen pineapple. The taste was great but it made my mouth really sore from the acid.

  3. That sounds awful. Who’d want to eat a poor, mushed up chick? The only food-related secret I can think of is that when I was very young my mother used to give me and my brother a spoonful of malt extract and a spoonful of cod liver oil every morning. I hated the former and my brother hated the later, so when she wasn’t looking, he’d have my malt and I’d have his cod liver oil. I thought she got wise to it, but when I mentioned it to her quite recently, she was surprised. I guess we’d been more successful at keeping it secret than I’d imagined.

  4. Oh dear, truly stomach-churning! Reminded me of a time many years ago, when my son was a baby,we visited a friend for lunch. She served us chicken soup because she thought that our being vegetarian, we could still eat that soup! Pineapple is apparently very good for your triggering digestive enzymes – so it’s a shame you weren’t having much to digest on your voyage! You must have all been very glad for dry land and that milk bar…

      1. How is chicken vegetarian? That’s what I said! The answer was that it was cream of chicken soup (tinned) and she couldn’t actually see any pieces of chicken in it! We had jam sandwiches instead 🙂 And you’re welcome for visit etc 🙂

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