This article is about gizzards. Mostly. Chicken gizzards.
I grew up with a tough father. You did not ride on his back or call him Dadee. He did not mistreat us. He just struck the fear of God in every spine that was roaming the house when he was around. What we accorded his presence was respect and beyond. Whenever he was home, mercifully not too often, we spent our time on the opposite side of the compound. You watched your step. You detoured whenever paths threatened to cross. You minded your decibels. Nobody cooked wrong. He bought you ugly school shoes and you wore them.
On any given day there were tens of chicken roaming the compound and often times he authorized the slaughter of one for dinner. And he ate the gizzard. He always ate the gizzard. That is just tradition but I did not know that then. As the baby of the house, I ate liver, wings, thighs or the business end. But my father always ate the gizzard. Every chicken day, I would wonder what the heck this gizzard was. It had a funny Kikuyu name. Kaiga Ngio.
I revered the gizzard. For a delicacy not too common, it was funny that I almost measured respect for my father with a gizzardstick. I did not see him as an ogre, but I imagined ogres too must eat gizzards. He was not a friendly man. Not even to children. It must have been the gizzards. Don’t give me that look. I was a child.
Relax. I did not spend my otherwise happy childhood mulling over the offending organs. I do not carry emotional scars borne of the excruciating lack of them. I’m not unable to sleep at night and I do not see dead gizzards. I’m not having a panic attack occasioned by this article. I do not have an irrational fear of animals with gizzards.
But at some young point I grew to associate the gizzard with…… a few mythical powers? Open sesame? Houdini? No. My father. A distant fearless man whose path you crossed at your own peril. Scratch that. Whose path you did not cross.
So you can imagine my mortification when as an older child I saw a pack of gizzards for sale in a supermarket. My childhood reverence of the mighty gizzard had been shattered. Gizzards were sold? Anyone could buy gizzards? I could buy gizzards? I could eat a gizzard? I could eat a whole pack of them?