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Eating Chicken in Iran, 1964


English: Chicken in public market, Mazatlan, S...

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Iranians are very, very polite if nothing. 

I mean, just the essence of diplomacy and grace.  And so very few people were going to say anything that could ever be perceived as offensive.

There was one time that I remember though, when I must have surprised them.  They kept a few chickens out in the courtyard, and we would usually have a hard-boiled egg in the morning for breakfast, which I’m assuming came from those chickens as a rule.  Every now and then we would have chicken for dinner or lunch or whatever, and they served the chicken with the head and the feet cooked with the chicken as well.

And it was the guest of — oh God I still remember it — the guest of honor’s prerogative to have the head of the chicken.  Oh man.  So that was a little challenging to negotiate, and finally I just had to say, “I just can’t do this.”

It’s odd because as a child I grew up in the country, and we had chickens and we slaughtered them and ate them all the time.  But I guess I made some kind of comment about, “was this one of the chickens that had been out there?”

And then they started teasing me, and they would tease me unmercifully about did I feel the same way about breaking the eggs as I did about eating the chicken?  (Laughter)

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