The Game is Afoot!

Crime Scene
It was a dark and stormy night when I realized that I was out of celery. How can a person make dinner without celery? But duty called; and I sacrificed my good hair day for a trip to the store. I was only gone half an hour, but returned to find that a crime had been committed in my kitchen.

There on the counter were the two game hens that I had left out to defrost. But one of them was not where I had left it. It had been dragged from the plate; the plastic wrap torn from the bird and a meaty thigh missing.

My careful dinner plans were in shambles. Every human member of my household loved the thighs to the exclusion of the rest of the bird. With two birds I had counted on having four thighs. Now there were only three thighs and four people.

You might be asking yourself, how hard can it be to divide three game hen thighs into four portions? Very hard. Fights break out at the table, “I got too much skin!” “I only got bone and gristle!” “Mine is all fat!” “You took the best part!” And now I would have to face additional cries of, “Eww, mine has bite marks on it!” Who could have done such a thing! Who could have purloined that precious portion of poultry?


Detective Work
Approaching the scene, I saw paw prints and nose prints on the counter. That narrowed the field of suspects down to two cats and one dog. And this offered a solution to my dinner problem.

I decided that whoever’s pet it was would have to forego their thigh. So whose pet was it? While all three pets had access to the kitchen, only two had the ability to jump to the counter. The culprit was a cat. But which one? Should I compare the bite marks on the bird to each of the cat’s tooth prints?

Suddenly a forensic fact foisted itself upon my frontal lobe. I recently learned that every cat is born with a unique nose print, as unique as the distinctive swirls on a human finger pad.

Just Call Me Sherlock
My mission was to get nose prints from the suspects. In the process, I learned another curious fact. Not only is it nearly impossible to get a nose print from an uncooperative cat; a cat sneeze can blow catnip in a six foot arc. But I was determined to get my evidence.

And I had the culprit; the nose prints were a perfect match with Samsam. Unfortunately, he was my cat. Bummer.


Was it really fair that I—the grocery shopper, the cook, and scratched-up detective—should have to give up my portion of thigh? No, it was not.

At that moment, I had another brilliant insight. There being no witnesses to the crime or my detective work, I could implement Plan B. I hid the plastic wrapper in the trash, wiped the prints off the counter, and destroyed any remaining tooth marks and bacteria in a simmering pot of game hen soup.

Lessons learned:

  • It is safer to defrost meat in the refrigerator.
  • It is possible to divide three thighs four ways.
  • It is unwise to ask questions that you don’t want answered.

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