Monday, January 31, 2011

A chicken in every pot

In a 1928 Republican political campaign, the promise was made to "put a chicken in every pot".Such was the promise of a life of prosperity- a chicken in every pot and an auto in every back yard was the vision of prosperity offered in the dark days after the Great Depression.

Today, in our world of "healthy" eating, such a promise has lost all meaning. Chicken, don't you know , comes either in the form of a nugget, KFC or a boneless, skinless low fat and calorie "frankenfood" that has been engineered for maximum profitability and convenience. The creature it comes from bears resemblance to that running around in a children's petting zoo farm yard, but that's where it ends. Or it is purchased in the form of equally processed boneless , skinless legs. Theoretically, it is chicken. A whole, real chicken is this scary, intimidating thing that is best left for an archaic time , when people made actual meals from real foods that involve the use of vegetable peelers, butcher knives, roasting pans and other such complicated things.

Truth be told, a whole chicken you find in the supermarket has been less tampered with through the whole process of it's life.I say this by the fact that it has a breast and thighs that do not appear to be the Dolly Parton  or Kim Kardashian of the poultry world. It is proportionate to the rest of the critter. A whole chicken, if approached with respect, can provide almost 3 or 4 meals or parts of those meals. By respect I mean an attitude that every scrap of the creature is valuable and food. The way that our grandmothers approached nearly all food. It was valuable , and should be treated as money in your pocket.

The humble bird would begin life as a simple roast chicken dinner. If you wanted to get fancy, brine the bird before roasting to bring out the maximum flavor. A whole roast chicken looks like a mini thanksgiving, and can be carved in the same way you carve a turkey.After the meal is done , let the carcass cool, and pick all of the meat off the remaining carcass. Depending on the size of the appetites you are dealing with, this can be anything from 2 cups of meat to  1/2 cup. Meal number two can become chicken salad or ala king or even fried rice. Third meal happens when you collect the bones, place them in a pot with vegetable tops , parings and some spices, water, vinegar and let it simmer for a couple of hours. Cool, strain and you have a broth that can be used to make soup, cook grains in or simply nourish on its own.

In our "health " conscious and fat phobic world today , such meal stretching is impossible. One food, one dish is the mindset.A boneless skinless breast feeds one person, one meal, and that is that.No bones, no skin, no fat, no mess. In exchange for convenience and calorie consciousness we have tossed out an opportunity to stretch our food dollar and have access to some valuable nutrients( bone broth is high in calcium and protien). One thing eating bone broth helps  prevent is osteoporosis. Is it a coincidence that as we consume more boneless, skinless ,low fat "chickenstein", we also find more and more drugs like Boniva on the market? I think not. And as we consume less and less "evil" saturated fats we find a greater need for more formulations of drugs for the management of depression . Could it be because our bodies need these saturated fats to keep a chemical balance ? ( Trans-fatty acids lead to depression- and are found in things like margarine and vegetable oils that become rancid, oxidized and hydrogenated).

It is said that when one begins to live a green lifestyle where the focus is on recycling, prosperity is often a surprising side benefit. I think that when we return to a real food lifestyle ( shunning anything that comes in a can, a box or a vacuum sealed package, we start for economy but reap real health in the process.

1 comment:

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