Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Drumstick, Wing or a Thigh?

You will never, NEVER, NEVER! guess what I did tonight.

Try anyway.



I cut up a whole chicken.

I KNOW! I can't believe I got over my Meat Squimishness either. But, the whole chicken cost $3.58 and the chicken breasts were over $7, so I thought I'd give it a try. I had to do something to make up for the fucking $5 bag of flour!


I surprised myself. Not only did I cut up the chicken without gagging, puking, whimpering or crying, I even enjoyed it a little. I liked feeling that little body and exploring the joints and muscles with my hands. It was exciting to see just how the hell this thing was put together, how the joints moved. I felt a tiny thrill upon seeing where the curve of the muscle hinted at where to start the cut, where to guide the knife through the joints. I felt connected.

When I started, it looked like a chicken. It looked like an animal. It wasn't a pale mystery blob that I didn't understand. It still had enough definition that I could almost imagine what it looked like with its feathers. And neck and head. I could imagine the legs and wings moving, using those joints.

Instead of feeling sad as I expected, I felt grateful. And determined not to waste any of this little body that had been offered to me.

I felt with even more urgency than normal that human and animal well being are connected. The only thing that made me sad was knowing that most likely those movements I imagined didn't happen as this little guy was probably in a small, small cage for his short life.

Again, I was surprised by my reaction.


The temperature was over 55 degrees today! Only a couple stubborn remnants of last week's drifts remain and most of the road is dry. The wind today -- and, oh, there was wind -- was warm, not cold. Such a different sensation. Such a welcome sensation.

So, to celebrate, A. grilled up the breasts (or what once was a breast but was more like a pile of mutilated, shapeless meat), thighs, wings and drumsticks. All the pieces but the breasts came out looking quite like how they began. I just really struggled figuring out what to do when it came time to deal with the breasts and back. Cut where? Bend what until it cracks? Give me some joints, those I can deal with. Apparently!

I saved the rest of the chicken to make homemade chicken noodle soup tomorrow night. It will be the perfect meal for the cold, snowy night in the forecast.



My great-grandma -- even my grandma -- would be so proud that I took my own hands to our food. My great-grandma could cut up a chicken in a couple of minutes, flat. My grandma, too. I wish my great-grandma was still around so I could write her a letter about it. My longing for her company never seems to lessen.


One step further removed from processed food. I think I am hooked. I am so pleased.

Also, I met a fear head on. That is always kind of awesome, regardless of how small or how silly the fear.


So, what is your favorite piece? Drumstick, wing or thigh? I guess I am for the whole chicken.


  1. My family had chicken for dinner last night; not me -- because I went out to a potluck without them. But before I went out, I put a bunch of chicken parts in the oven to bake. What a weird chicken this was -- it had three drumsticks and two breasts! No wings!

    Anyway... I came home to find out that one daughter ate ALL three drumsticks!

    Today she told me "I'm something of a devil when it comes to chicken, myself". This from a four year old!
    She had an impish smile on her face.

    Hmm... so um, yeah, the drumsticks have a certain appeal for the little devils around here.


  2. AWESOME! I always MEAN to do this, but I don't know what to do! How did you know how to do it?

    My mom can cut up a whole chicken in like 90 seconds. It's unbelievable.

    I'm a dark meat girl all the way. MMM.

  3. I love dark meat as white meat is too dry. I learned how to cut up a chicken from my grandma. I rarely buy anything but the whole chicken, but I will say, you made me look at the cutting up process in a whole new light.

  4. Good for you, man! Cutting up a whole chicken - I'd have no idea where to start.

    I used to think wings were worthless, then I got into Buffalo Wild Wings, but I usually like the breast or thigh. Either white or dark meat is fine with me. And drumsticks are repulsive to me for some reason. Maybe because any time I go to a street festival, there's all these guys gnawing on giant turkey drumsticks, which grosses me out.

  5. When I was a child -before I even knew of the innuendo involved- I was ALL ABOUT the breasts... CHICKEN! What?

    Now that I have had the wings at George's Place in Naperville though... wings are my favorite.

    My conversion from (chicken) breasts to wings began four years ago when my brother introduced me to Wingstop (a chain eatery), which has great wings. Then I had the wings of George's Place. Best wings ever. One might say they are 'clucking awesome'. If one is a total dork.

    So, if you are ever in Chicagoland, go to George's Place in Naperville. Get their flaming cheese- Saganaki(sp?), and try all the wing flavors. Sooo awesome.

    Wingstop is good too, if you have not been. They are all over the U.S. Google it to find one near you. Jeez I sound like the Man...all touting consumerism and such.

    And what a long comment. I guess I am more passionate about chicken than I knew.

  6. "One step further removed from processed food. I think I am hooked."

    that's EXACTLY how i feel. although i have not yet cut up my own chicken :-)

  7. So, I don't actually EAT chicken, but I've cut up plenty of them... all part of that frugal shopper thing! It doesn't bother me at all. Homer, on the other hand (who does eat chicken) wants no part of cutting or even knowing that it has been cut up. My kids like the drumsticks (I think every kid does), Homer is definitely a breast man.

  8. You know what my dream is? To butcher and pluck a chicken (and then cook it and eat it, etc.) Please note that this is a dream that sits alongside those other dreams like "build my own log cabin from scratch" and "completely refit current house to run entirely on wind and solar"--i.e., I'm not exactly out scouting chickens right now.

    I love those juicy chicken thighs the most--though if you cook a breast ju-u-u-st long enough and not too long, it's juicy too.


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