When the weather started getting cooler, I really started to miss my soup. My joints were grinding and my muscles stiff. School was stressful. I started imagining clear golden broth with cilantro floating in it, and fresh jalapeños. The stuff in the box from HEB is barely stomachable, and the soups from the deli in the supermarket gray and unskimmed . . . so I finally bought a stock pot (a lovely blue granite one) and a whole chicken to make broth.
I was stunned when I cut open the bag of giblets and found the feet included. Delighted, yes, but completely surprised.
I took a picture and posted it on Facebook.
And happily tossed the feet into the pot with the bird and his gizzard, neck, and heart.
Meanwhile, the reactions to the Facebook photo were flooding in. I laughed as I skimmed the foam off the water, laughed as I deboned the bird, laughed more every time someone added a comment. Most posted expressions of disgust. My sweet vegetarian friend, horrified shock. The super-cool chef from La Antigua Guatemala posted a laughing emoji. And my friend from ninth grade seriously wanted to know if I had eaten the chicken feet. I laughed and laughed and laughed.
Why would I be happy about finding chicken feet all nice and clean and ready to go into the stockpot? Google “chicken feet” and you’ll find a whole bunch of hits. Feet are much desired by serious food enthusiasts for their nutritional properties, and they are a pain to prepare. I shared a post from the Nourished Kitchen blog about making stock from nothing but chicken feet–a process which I have never attempted, by the way, mainly because you can’t just go buy chicken feet at Brookshire Brothers or Kroger.
And why would I find my Facebook friends’ reactions so hilarious?
We may think we are blessed because we don’t “have to” eat things like chicken feet or bone marrow or cod liver oil (although we have no problem sucking crawfish heads), but we are missing the point. When we abandoned traditional methods of food production and preparation in favor of convenience, we also gave up valuable nutritional resources.
I wrote a rant about the attitudes of the average American toward food, but I took it out to save for another day, because this post is supposed to be about laughter and soup being good medicine.
So I’ll just say this: Homemade soup is the result of a good deal of work, and it’s good for you. It lubricates the joints, builds up immunity, and, according to somebody named Dr. Axe, reduces cellulite. When you use the feet in the stock, it intensifies the nutritional benefits.
Laughing is good for you, too. It relieves stress, increases immunity, and releases “feel-good” hormones.
So thank you to the Mexican poultry-processing folks. Your hard work sure made it convenient for me to make some excellent broth, and I had a good, mind- and soul-refreshing laugh to go with it.