How to Mummify a Chicken

King Cluck was a Pharaoh of great renown.

… but, he met with an untimely death.

We think it was fowl play.

As was the custom, King Cluck was to be mummified by the Royal Embalmers (not to be confused with Court Jesters)

They were to use Royally Sanctioned Embalming Ingredients…

…and wear jackal-headed masks. (We came up short on the masks, so we had to make do with plastic gloves).

After assuring that there were no internal organs …

…the Royal Embalmers thoroughly washed the body.

Then, they very carefully dried every nugget…

They applied aromatic oils (in this case, a lovely lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil -incidentally, this is also great drizzled over Salmon – although I may not be able to bring myself to use it for some time…).

We had shopped earlier for aromatic spices.   Cloves, Rosemary and Cinnamon were the choices of these Jackal Headed Embalmers.

Our Embalmers filled all of the cavities with natron (a combination of salt and baking soda that naturally occurs in Egypt).

Then they laid the body in a bag half full of natron.

Actually a double bag.

Actually a triple bag.

Then the Royal Grampy took the body away to be stored in an unattached garage.

Fast forward one week.

I have been dreading this moment.  The boys are gone and I am now expected to change the salt every week for 6 weeks (or until King Cluck is mummified).  Generally, the mummification process takes 70 days from start to finish.
Seriously?  Mr. H. (the Royal Grampy) has decreed that “this shall not be done in the house…or anywhere I am going to be”.  I might normally have argued as I’m not a fan of edicts, but I get his point.

To prepare for the “Changing of the Salt”, I have put together a few items of great importance.

For sure we need the salt and baking soda, but I added some aromatic oils and a bandana (I’ll put the aromatic oils under my nose, then wear the bandana). The gloves will be absolutely necessary, and I am sure I will need a garbage bag. Not pictured, but necessary, are three more gallon size zip lock bags. The bleach will be used to scour the sink I am using (in the garage).   I think I’ll pour some in the sink to start.

Another thought.  I don’t want to have to wait for the salt to go through that small hole, so I cut a big opening before I retrieved King Cluck.

Oh, and I think I’ll get the bag of natron ready first. (Can you tell I’m stalling? You’re absolutely right).

Okay. Here it is. King Cluck. In all his glory…..Good news? Nothing is crawling in here. Bad news? I still need to open the bags.

Slowly, I opened the outer bag. Just a slight whiff of cloves.

I then opened the second bag. A stronger smell, but mostly of cloves and cinnamon.

Finally. I opened the third bag…

Well. Not bad. Not bad at all. The salt/baking soda combination soaked up much of the liquid, and there is only a slight hint of something foul…er fowl.

I cleaned off the salt, and here he is. He kind of looks like an overcooked Cornish Game Hen. Most of the dark color is probably the cinnamon.

So, I packed him full of salt and baking soda, put him in a new bag (triple bagged) and back to the garage.

So, what’s next?

Well, if our little Jackal Head Embalmers have done their job right, King Cluck’s body will be restored to it’s previous glory and he will be recognized by the Kings of the Underworld.  At that point, he will be admitted to the presence of 42 gods and goddesses who will judge him.   King Cluck will have to tell the gods all of the terrible things he did NOT do.    Other mummified Pharoahs might say:

  • I did not do harm to anyone
  • I did not make anyone unhappy
  • I did not kill
  • I did not lie to anyone

I suspect King Cluck will say things like:

  • I did not ruffle any feathers.
  • I did not count any chickens before they hatched.
  • I did not put all my eggs in one basket.

Tune in next month for the second stage of this process….. I can’t wait!!

Category: Ancient Egypt Day, Camp, What will we do today?
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(1) Comment and (1) Reply

  1. Laurie | June 29, 2011 at 6:25 am | Reply

    This is just too funny!

    • Jill H | June 29, 2011 at 6:26 am | Reply

      Looks yummy, doesn’t it? And YOU actually saw King Cluck in real life!

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