"How many bags of chicken feet do you want?" the farmer asked.
How does one buy chicken feet. By the pair? How many feet fit into a bag? Am I going to be grossed out by floppy, dead chicken feet? How dirty will they be? Do I have to wash them before I make them into broth? Will the broth taste dirty if I don't clean the feet just right?
How gross is this going to be?
I'd driven 20 minutes into the country to this farm I've bought from at the Kingston Farmer's Market. There was a sign off the main road that pointed down a dirt driveway and said, "Turkey Orders Here."
This must be the right place.
I drove past herds of cows eating off of giant, round bales of hay. The cows watched me drive past as if wary that I was there to buy beef.
My pleurisy was still banging on my chest and I read where broth was good way to help heal it. I was game for one-more-thing that might make me well, faster.
There were chickens roaming in the yard and ducks floating on a small pond. Remind me to buy chicken eggs from them next time. These were more than free range chickens, they were free roaming-the-entire-farm chickens.
I followed the road to the barn, but didn't see a sign for the store. A woman with dark hair walked through a door with a piece of paper taped to it that read, "Call Amanda" with a phone number. Nothing else. No other signs.
I opened the door, hoping it wasn't a bathroom or some other private place and saw a sign that had lists of meat prices. The woman with dark hair stood in the room.
"Is this the store?" I asked her.
"Yes." she said.
This is where they processed the chickens. The room had a concrete floor and stainless steel tables; it was as clean as a restaurant kitchen.
That's a good sign.
"I don't know." I said to the farmer. "I've never bought chicken feet before."
The farmer nodded. "Each bag has about 2 1/2 pounds."
"I'll take one bag." I said confidently. It cost me about 9 dollars, then I bought a $60 organic turkey on a whim as Thanksgiving was four days away.
I had to buy a new stock pot as the only one I had wouldn't work on the induction stove since it rejects anything less than stainless steel. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and used my 20% off coupon to get a standard pot.
Some years ago I dated a man who bought me a soup pot as a gift. It's a 12 quart pot that's heavy stainless steel with an aluminum base. It's the perfect pot but it doesn't work on my induction stove. Now that I bought a new pot, do I keep the old one for the memories of me cooking soup for us?
Probably not. Anyone need a soup pot?
I have this habit my uncle Rudy taught me where I freeze scrap veggies for months in the freezer so I can add them to stock. I also had some frozen bones from meals of long ago. Everything went into the pot.
The chicken feet came in a sold, frozen block, about the size of a half a loaf of bread. They had been cut off the legs and were remarkably clean. I put the giant ice cube into the stock pot. It floated to the top and simmered there for an hour or so before it broke apart and the feet sank into the stock.
It simmered all day, filling my house with the smell of a good life.
I can feel myself healing, already.