No Harm Done

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This year we’re studying creation through the fall of Rome in history. So far we’ve made it to Ancient Egypt and have spent the past few weeks reading about mummies and hieroglyphs and pyramids. I’ve really enjoyed reading some of the same books with Brogan that Braden and I read 5 years ago.

Last week we began our first history project: the infamous chicken mummy.

I say infamous because the first time I made a chicken mummy I got a lot of odd looks from people. Some of the looks were shocked, some disgusted, some baffled, but all of them odd. I’m kind of used to odd looks (sadly), but I was surprised to get them from fellow homeschoolers. Homeschoolers tend to be a lot more open-minded about hands-on learning projects. But the chicken mummy really pushed the envelope.

This time around I was prepared for more odd looks, but people were surprisingly interested. In fact, another homeschooling family came over last week to mummify a chicken with us!

So, for the uninitiated, here is how you make a chicken mummy:

1. Put on rubber gloves. Raw poultry is gross.

2. Remove the neck and innards of the chicken. Rinse the chicken thoroughly in hot running water inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Rinse with alcohol (any kind) and pat dry again.
(Brogan is patting the chicken.)

3. In a large bowl mix a half a can of baking powder, half a box of baking soda, and 2 boxes of salt. We also added cumin to make it smell a bit…….nicer.
(Preparing the salt mixture.)

4. Fill the chicken cavity with the salt mixture.

5. Put the chicken in a freezer bag and fill the bag with salt. The chicken should be completely covered. Seal the first bag. Put the sealed bag into a second freezer bag and seal it.
(Filling the bag.)

6. Now our mummy looks like this:

7. Every day for the first week take the chicken out, brush off all the moist salt, and put it bag into a bag with fresh salt. After the first week, we only have to do this once a week.

8. After about 6 weeks we’ll remove the chicken from the bag for the last time, dust off the salt, rub the chicken with oil and spices, stuff the chicken with fabric, and wrap it with linen strips.

Right now, the only picture I can show you is a picture of the bag on the counter. Check back in seven weeks, or so, for a snapshot of a finished chicken mummy!


At 5:20 PM , Blogger Jenni said...

Where were these instructions when I was making my cat mummy for science fair my junior year of high school? I guess you don't have to worry about pulling the brain out through the, what?, beak? or dealing with any internal organs. Come on, Hilary. I challenge you to get a chicken or turkey with the giblets and make little canopic jars for them:o)

I have always wondered about this chicken mummy thing. Now with the pics and description you've posted, I think dd and I will have to try it.

At 8:43 PM , Blogger Melkhi said...

Thanks for sharing your fun so that we can enjoy it vicariously and not do it ourselves! He he!

At 12:08 PM , Blogger JAM said...

Ah yes. The chicken mummy. I remember it well . . . So you've gone full circle and are hitting the ancients again. How fun! Gabe is at that point this year too.


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