I was walking on around the farm when I stumbled on a lamb carcass. I quickly looked over to the sheep’s paddock and did a headcount (phew! it wasn’t one of ours).
Fårikål is a traditional Norwegian dish made of lamb, cabbage, peppercorns and water. Fårikål season is from September to October when the fattened lambs come down from the mountains. In fact, the last Thursday of September in Norway is National Fårikål day. Fårikål used to be made from mutton for flavour but over time lamb has become more favoured. On My Little Norway we have posted a series of Fårikål recipes (one traditional and the others experimental). Traditionalist would baulk at the new versions, however, they are most welcome when lamb is so abundant at this time and ‘Fårikål’ is wearing its name out.
I should have known that living on a farm meant real fresh Fårikål. Great Uncle uses our land (as we have only a few animals so far) to sort out his flock. Some go to slaughter (usually the males) and the others will be breeders. Every year one or two are slaughtered on the farm for our own use – why send them off to slaughter, have them packed and shipped back to Alta, only to buy it again at a premium price?
The idea of personally slaughtering animals is hard for me. I don’t want animals to die. It is so much easier to go to the shops, see a lovely piece of perfectly cut, wrapped meat and buy it. But the responsibility of slaughter has ingrained in me a deep love and respect for my animals. They provide us with life. I can understand why vegetarians are so fierce these days. However, today, most domestic breeds would go extinct if not for humans. Are animals better extinct than eaten?
We certainly do not slaughter the best animals. Like nature, we choose the ones that are unhealthy, slow or stunted. This keeps the breed strong and healthy. We keep our animals a lot longer than commercial farmers and nature. But there always comes a time when it is best to slaughter rather than having an animal suffer ailments from old age. So mutton is what we slaughter, which is best for Fårikål anyway!