Monday, March 23, 2009

Try A Little Tenderness

We just got four freshly slaughtered chickens from my cousin Mooreen*, who raises these little babies with minimal interference. Not full organic perhaps, but the only shots they get are when they are chicks. After that they experience nothing but good feeding and time to grow. She raises them for something like twice the time a commercial chicken takes because they don't have growth hormones in them. Someone, finally, cares.

What makes this interesting is the maths: she sells her chickens for about 2000/= cheaper than store bought. That is right: they are raised healthier, for longer...and still sold cheaper. Cooking them is a pleasure: forty minutes in a hot bath of briny liquid and Chicken One was already trying to fall apart. Fat content: negligible. Chicken Two and Chicken Three got the oven treatment and the gravy they released was quite heavenly. Fat content: negligible. Chicken Four awaits dismemberment and storage in the freezer.

The fat content thing is not about dieting, in case you were wondering. After all, I consider freshly rendered (preferably young and organic) lard to be one of the sensory pleasures no sane person should forgo completely. My rejection of chicken fat is quite simple: for the longest time I couldn't stand to eat the stuff. It tasted quite fowl to me. Heh. But seriously folks: I don't know what Interchick is putting in their chickens. I can taste it, I don't like it, and I am pretty sure it is compromising the genetically encoded longevity that Dad was kind enough to pass on.

Moorine's chickens though: they are young, and taste soft and sweet like a young chicken should. They taste like they breathed fresh air, and had a swift and humane death. Their drumsticks are elongated and their thighs trim: these guys were not just sitting around. And the innards that came with them (gizzards n' livers) are purple-pink and firm with none of the disgusting degeneration of those mass-produced inmates. When I eat such a happy, respectfully-raised chicken, I feel happy and respectful.

All of this long-windedness is to say: yeah. even in Paradise, (an abysmally poor country by official accounts) you can raise nourishing and humane animal protein. Affordably. Nice, eh?

*Holler if you want Chicken Moorine's number. Although she raises 300-500 chickens per harvest, these babies are so popular that pre-booking is necessary. Size is inconsistent: sometimes they are big, sometimes they aren't- just like in nature. One thing they always are, though, is palatable.

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