The butcher department of my local grocery store announced that they'd be having a free class on chicken preparation which I imagined would be cooking lessons so I eagerly signed up. I'm iffy enough with cooking as it is and when it comes to meat I'm utterly clueless. It's been a little over a year since I started eating meat and I still haven't had any chicken, mostly because I think of it as dog food and an inferior source of fat. But a free cooking class can't hurt.
I was worried that I'd registered too late and wouldn't get in to the class but as it turned out I was the only person who showed up. Which meant I got to pick the music and what better music for learning to cut up a chicken than the Ramones? And Social Distortion? And after that the guys giving the lesson turned off the music because apparently 'Sheena is a Punk Rocker' is an acquired taste and maybe a bit too distracting for the precise work of chicken butchery. The funny thing is that the instructor initially was trying to find Classical music for me before he asked what I wanted to hear.
The class turned out to be more about how to cut up a whole chicken, bones and all, with some cooking advice thrown in. One of the instructors grew up in New Orleans and I guess they know a thing or two about cooking down there. It turns out that there's an art to chicken carving, at times it looked like magic. I'll have to consult YouTube to jog my memory if I ever need to do this for myself but at least I have an idea of what to do. Because whole chickens are way cheaper than buying the individual parts plus you get some parts of meat like the 'oyster' that are supposedly the tastiest parts that don't get sold with the individual parts. And the bones. The instructors sent me home with the demo chicken and Lola was about the happiest I've seen her in years when I gave her the back bone to munch. So hard to find chicken backs these days.
Which leads me to my next obsession - bones. Or rather trying to find good grass fed joint bones, chicken or pig feet, etc. to make broth. Because I've become seriously obsessed with the broth. I know, you're thinking when is this crazy lady going to stop carrying on about the gelatinous meat juice? I will, I promise, but I woke up the other night plotting my next broth and trying to think of a dog proof place in the house for a crock pot where I won't start a fire. Because surely I have nothing else to worry about at 2 a.m.? Now many of you dog people can't judge because I know you wake up in the wee dark hours agonizing over your running dogwalk. And I know because I've been there too. At least the broth leads to wonderful, magical health benefits whereas the running dogwalk leads to Manic Depressive Neurotic Crazyland and Not Enough Therapy on the Planet. Jonny came home from a biking trip in Utah with some horrible plague cough of sinus infection bronchitis ick that lasted nearly 3 weeks and thanks to the magically delicious mystical healingness of the broth I never caught it. Plus the dogs love it. LOVE it. So much craziness for my broth. We have some every day.
Which means I need to keep a pot going on the stove every week which means lots and lots of bones. Must be grass fed as well. No Monsanto GM glyphosate ridden feed for me or the bones in my broth. The local grocery sometimes has grass fed marrow bones for $2.99 per lb which is good but the oxtail or shin bones are $5.99/lb and I need about 5-6 lbs of bones per stock pot so that adds up quickly. I've been calling around to the local farms but so far no luck. My kingdom for some grass fed knuckle bones and chicken feet.
I've even been hatching a plot for a Broth Stall on the Pearl St. Mall. Welcome to 'Madame Fitwell's Naughty Broth-el'. Except that I'd rather shove hot pokers in my eyes while listening to the Grateful Dead than deal with tourists and Boulderites on the Pearl St. Mall. And I'd end up running a soup kitchen for all the homeless people downtown because I wouldn't be able to turn them away, even the scamster ones because how do you tell 'real' homeless from the con artists? I'd be out of business in a day. Plus it turns out someone already beat me to it. Apparently broth is trendy. Who knew? I don't think I've ever been on the front edge of a trend ever. You can even mail order your bone broth. But then you'd miss the fun of making it yourself and the awesome smell in the house and the joy of skimming the tallow off the top. Plus the mystery of how it'll turn out. Will it be super jiggly? You want it super jiggly, definitely want your broth to have some junk in the trunk, not all runny skinny Boulder triathlete. It's a fun science experiment each time with the bonus of delicious immune boosting power juice at the end.
I swore I'd never do it but I'm going to be one of those crazy dog ladies with the chest freezer in the garage for when I finally find a bone source. A terrible horror chest full of all manner of frozen animal body parts. Jonny can get a deal on a freezer through his work, we're just waiting for a free shipping deal to come along and I'm there. I think I'll write a book, 'The Secret Life of Bone Broth'. Long live the weirdo obsessions.