We had chicken soup this week. That’s not unusual except that this chicken had a name. One of my goals from last year was to raise meat birds but I didn’t get to it. It is still on my list for this year. “Haven’t you people ever heard of a grocery store?” one of our boys’ school teachers once asked me. Yes, and that’s why I want to raise my own food.
If you’ve ever had the satisfaction of growing a tomato or even a sprinkling of fresh herbs you get it. Fresher = better. During the recent snow forecast frenzy, I commented to a grocery clerk that they were out of eggs. “We can’t get restocked” she told me. “I have 10 dozen in my car,” I responded. The guy bagging looked up suddenly and asked “Are they brown eggs? Local? Can I buy some?” Of course! The grocery store guy wants farm eggs. Delicious irony.So we are
I was unsure of how the family would react to the idea of eating a familiar bird. (I do not serve things to people subversively). They were game. I can’t tell you how careful I was with the prep. I spent a full day fussing over the stock. Several hours building a soup. This was important to me to do right. And boy was it right. It may not look glamorous but a finer soup has not been eaten. We took time before the meal to humbly, sincerely give thanks for the food before us. This animal had lived a free, open life scratching, pecking, wandering as he pleased indoors, outdoors wherever.This must be how meat was meant to be. We are a family of carnivores. We hunt. We farm. We eat. And for those items we gratefully put on our table, I know how they lived. And it is surprising how that changes food prep. No throwing bits out, eschewing leftovers, or cutting corners. When we produce something, we use it. (I saved the feathers). I value the food. No longer a commodity but a prize.
So I am emboldened to take on my goal of meat birds this year. I am encouraged that we can add another wholesome protein source to our farm. And the boys have offered to help. And I love seeing them value the animals and responsibility of eating. Who knows, if it goes well perhaps it will become a thing. In either case it will be good for both the bowl and the soul.