(there's knitting toward the bottom - if you're squeamish, scroll fast until you see yarn)
I cooked feet. Chicken feet, mind you, not people feet. We had livers the other night, but really that's kind of passe by comparison and so there was no real need to blog it. The only notable bit was that I cooked them in bacon fat, and somewhere a good Jewish mother cried. Feet on the other hand...feet are emotionally charged. They bring out strong opinions. I have strong opinions of my own. Maybe it's because I come from a long line of wise and frugal people who didn't waste. Maybe it's because I grew up in a family well-populated with Depression era women who's sole goal in life was to wring as much meal as they could from the smallest amounts of food possible. When all you young folk start canning and saving your giblets, I laugh a little. In my world, who doesn't can and make giblet gravy and boil necks and bones for stock? Why would you peel the root vegetables when that's where all the good things are? And so it is with feet.
I've been asked about the feet - do I think it's gross? No. I think it respects the animal that I killed to feed my family. If I threw away useful parts, if I wasted things, that would be disrespectful and that would be gross. Don't I think they're dirty? Yes, but often so are my own feet after a day around here. Once they're washed, they are no longer dirty. The same applies to chicken feet. In fact I was amazed at how quickly they came clean.
When we slaughter birds, anything that can be used is used. The blood and feathers make excellent compost additives. The entrails and heads, minus gizzards, hearts, livers and feet are taken well away from the house and laid on the surface where wild animals eat them. It's all part of a cycle.
I believe strongly that animals are here for us to care for and to use. I believe equally strongly that this entails a responsibility on our part to care for them wisely and well, and not waste what we have been given. Chickens have feet. Feet have tremendous nutrients. Waste not, want not.
After viewing some recipes online I decided to begin with stock. Although this recipe for Hot and Spicy Chicken Feet was appealing, I am feeling more like it's a soup day today - obviously fall, a nip in the air and a good breeze, the leaves changing gently from green to gold and orange and red, a little overcast with breaks of sun. The day says soup. Soup begins with stock, and today stock began here,
In the meantime, I wandered out to find herbs and discovered that I could get away with a late harvest of the perennials. Since I was slacking about this all summer being otherwise focused, I was glad to come back inside laden with sage, oregano and thyme.
The yarn, Buffalo Gold Moon (yum, yum, yummo!) came for my shawl for the oldest's wedding in October. I have also silver lined E-beads, and a swatch.
The brilliant Barbara Parry, author of Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing and shepherd at Springdelle Farm recently asked if I would like to design a sock in her new yarn. I jumped at the chance.
Foxfire website - but when it is you will want some. Warm and wooly and delightful with excellent stitch definition and dyed subtly and beautifully in earthy colors - I am smitten. Madly and deeply. The pattern is finished, but not yet available - I will let you know when and where it is.
Simmering chicken feet, squishy warm wool in my hands, the promise of a tomorrow filled with silver beads and bison down...an excellent day for rest and reflection, I think. may your day be filled with the same.