Did I say I felt closer to our food?
Today, Adam and I had to call on YouTube to explain how to clean the chicken I bought at the market.
You would have thought that it was her pet chicken, the nice lady with the gold tooth at the Krakivske market, the way she was rubbing the poor thing’s naked breast when she was speaking of its taste qualities. (I bought eggs from her too, in the hope that the production of the neighboring hens was of equally high quality as the relative I was about to devour.)
Clean, she said. And clean it was, with respect to feathers and such. But not with respect to the way I understand “clean” when I buy a chicken at a store in North America. This was a farm-raised chicken, alive just yesterday. It had no head (thank goodness for small mercies), but it did still have feet. Oddly large, hanging closed rather than slayed on the ground. And oddly angled. Mind you, they were broken at the “knees” so that buyers could see how young the dear fowl was at the time of its demise.
So I’m charmed by the nice farm lady, buy her fowl and eggs, and get it home to my resident master chef. I planned to make soup, on the advice of my gracious market and culinary guide Oleanna, who thought our adventure today would result in two cups of cranberries and a second-hand chest of drawers. Well, she was right on both of those counts, and so very much more. She campaigned on behalf of this bird, and I voted with my hryvnias. I think the bird cost me about $11.
So I get it home and announce to Adam he is having liver as his appetizer tonight. He’s not enticed by the liver, but he is enticed by the carcass lying in the sink. He takes it upon himself to clean the poor thing. It is left to me to call up YouTube and find something about 1) cleaning a chicken and 2) cooking a chicken in a pot on the stove (when you don’t have an oven.)
Luckily, there are a number of nice “part 2” versions of cleaning a chicken, that is, after the head and feathers are off but before the guts are all out. And ours was a gutsy job. Following instructions like the boy scout he used to be, Adam cut off the feet and neck, threw the first in the garbage and the second in the pot. He found the innards and pulled them out the south end. We carefully separated the intact brilliant green spleen from the liver as instructed, threw the first in the garbage and the second in the pot (seeing a trend here?). He found the heart and lungs and gizzard, which he threw out without even looking to see what was inside that gizzard, as instructed by the YouTube professor. I was all about agreeing with Adam, there, although it was interesting and about time to learn what a gizzard was and why I should clean its insides if it ever ends up near a stock pot on my stove.
So, the chicken and all its assorted bits are in the pot with a carrot, an onion, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Adam’s all washed up and in bed, ready to take the garbage out first thing in the morning! And I am waiting for the chicken stock to cool on the stove before I strain it and put it in the fridge to chill.
Chilling. That sounds like what both I and the chicken soup should be doing by the time you read this.