Sunday, February 8, 2009

The thing about chicken soup from scratch

I used to be a vegetarian. A year or so before I met Brent I started eating meat again, but I didn't really know how to cook it. And generally found raw meat bloody disgusting to the point of not being able to eat it if I had to look at or smell it for very long before it was cooked. Now, I am learning. I've touched raw chicken and not fallen over dead. I have yet to be comfortable touching raw beef, so when we have meatballs he touches the meat. The boys call my ground beef browned and put in sauce "mini meatballs" which we find hilarious. Easiest meatballs in history.
Anyways, I have been trying to get healthier with the recipies I attempt, which means that when I make soup I need a carcass for soup stock. I tell you, it is a long way from vegetarian to chicken carcass in a pot! But now I can do it. I have been trying to get closer to the origins of things, including my food: if I can't get closer to its origin I at least try to imagine where it came from and whose actions brought it to me. If I know its journey I can be intentional about my choices. Apples over oranges, since apples grow 500 km away and oranges grow 3000 km away. You know? Not that I never buy oranges, but I try to be intentional.
But the thing about this chicken carcass thing is that it is more difficult to ignore that my meat comes from an animal. I think this is good! But it is hard for me. I don't care about the darn chicken's feelings; I just find it rather gross to see bones and ligaments and strips of fat and stuff. More than once when I have made my soup from scratch I've found a vertibra in my bowl. When I pick the meat off the bones I have to get in there and dig with my fingers: there is no way to daintily deal with the meat with two forks or a fork and a knife, like I do when slicing chicken breasts! It is good to get closer to the origin of my food, and I definately save money and feel healthier when I get a whole chicken and manage 4 meals out of it AND a pot of soup! I have also discovered that chicken and RICE soup is a ton easier than chicken and homemade NOODLES soup, though considerably less popular with the tots. Can I call Ayden a tot? He's almost six. He's cute as a tater tot. Does that count?
Anyways, being faced with the bones of my chicken carcass is making me grow as a person. That is what I wanted to say. :)


Tonya said...

Nothing to do with chicken here ... My mom keeps raving about how adorable Riley is and how much fun it was to see all of you. Thought you would like to know! :-) Oh, and she's trying to talk us into the party this summer. We shall see!?!

Asheya said...

I agree that it's really good to be connected with where your food comes from, and to keep it as local as possible. Kind of hard here in the Yukon, but I am really, really glad that we have moose meat to eat this winter. My brother shot a moose in the fall, and we get a lot of the meat!

I know some people are against hunting, but I think if you're not willing to kill your food you shouldn't be eating it. I didn't actually do the hunting, and while I might find seeing an animal die sad I think it would give me a greater appreciation for my meat instead of taking it for granted.

I also love that our moose meat is organic, and that the moose had a great, happy life in the wild.

The only other local food I have been able to use is cranberries, which we pick from wild patches in the fall.

Some potatoes are grown in the Yukon, which we can buy, but other than that I think everything is shipped from "down south". Living in the north certainly reduces local food options!

Dana said...

I have had a similar journey. I have actually made meatballs, but I generally avoid ground beef. I often still handle chicken with tongs, though more for fear of salmonella than because I'm grossing out.

Our chickens come with all the parts except the feathers and the head. Which means I throw feet in the pot. No way I'm picking feet out of my bowl at mealtime, so I strain it through a nice fine strainer. Nary a vertibra!

You've come a long way! I always feel great about feeding my family homemade chicken soup.

jenna said...

I'd love some great vegetarian recipes.
I'm coming from the other direction where we were eating meat/poultry/fish at almost every meal and I'm learning more about why that's inappropriate and looking for other options.

Jen said...

Oh whatever. Just live in Asia for a few years and you'll be amazed at what you can handle. Now roasted pig heads & body parts on a chopping block on the sidewalk just amuse me - although you'd never see me eating anything like that. Fried chicken claws anyone? In Thailand my ESL students used to come to class chewing the tendons between the numerous joints on each appendage. Disgust! Now I live in a country where soups and stews are made with whole fish or whole chickens just chopped into pieces with bones, skin, and everything else thrown in and I've gotten to the point (when I'm hungry and that's all there is to eat at work) where I'll just pick out the meat and pile of the rest next to my bowl. Still don't love that though. I love North America for its boneless, skinless meats and fish. What a joy.