Tuesday, April 23, 2013
My Mom and Chicken Parts
I wonder what part of the chicken was my Mom’s favorite when she was a child. Was she a drumstick girl or did she prefer the white meat of the breast? I doubt she savored the parts she claimed to be her favorites when she became a mother. As a child she lived on a farm and, though I know they had little money for many and varied reasons, there was always food on the table. Probably chicken wasn’t even kept just for Sunday dinner because its meat wasn’t considered as precious as in later years.
When I was a child our family lived in town and money for food was often at a premium. I don’t recall keeping chickens except for a few bantams that were more pets than stock. We did tend to have chicken on Sunday though and everyone had his or her favorite part. I, of course, favored the drumstick, I think my brothers both liked the thighs and my Dad usually ate the breast. Mom, however, claimed the best parts were the neck, back, and wings. With the exception of the wing these pieces provided very little meat but Mom had a way of making the search for tidbits look delicious.
I know now she was taking the least desired pieces so her family could get the most out of the meal she provided. She made sure everyone else had plenty to eat by making us believe she preferred and even savored those small, even undesirable bits. Perhaps she did too good a job because I began to envy those pieces. I looked at how much she appeared to revel in getting the most out of the bony bits and wanted to try it myself. Of course, I wasn’t about to give up my drumstick at the time but the craving played on my mind.
In later years, I came to enjoy the bony pieces as much or more than any other part of the chicken. Even today, I’d rather have a couple of wings than any other part. I know wings are a big deal these days. They are a party treat, a ball game snack, a tasty spicy nosh. Most of today’s wings have more meat on them than in earlier days – must be the way the chickens are raised.
And where’s the neck anyway? When was the last time you found a neck in the chicken parts purchased at the grocery store. It’s as though the poor things had nothing to hold their heads up with. Okay, now I’m making myself hungry. If nothing else, I may be able to find some wings to satisfy my yearning. Or maybe I’ll bread and fry up some chicken gizzards. Now that’s a treat I haven’t had in a very long time!
Mom taught me much in my life but one of the most important lessons was to not pass over the small and often tasty things in life.