archived 4/19/2015


Kentucky Fried Chicken

We are a few days away from processing our first round of Cornish Cross chickens. It takes some mental preparation to slaughter animals you have raised from their first day of life. There is an almost mechanical instinct that clicks on and the birds that we have fed, water, bedded, warmed and pastured every day for the past 7-8 weeks turn to food.

That is the point of all of this. Food. Good food. I am ready to warm up my cast iron pan, toss together some herbs in cornmeal and flour and fry up one of our pastured birds. The flavors are so rewarding. I love watching everyone's eyes fill with pure delight when I place a bowl of hot crispy chicken on the table. Dinner is an event, especially when fried chicken is on the menu. I throw on a colorful tablecloth, set out the plates, forks and napkins. I pick out my favorite pyrex bowl and I wrap up the piled high thighs, breasts, and wings in a cloth napkin like the precious gem it is.

It has only been a a few years since I started frying chicken at home. I didn't know how to cut up a whole bird or what temperature to heat the oil to. I had no clue what ingredients made a recipe special or secret or what would make my own breading taste fantastic. Trial and error turns out to be the best way to learn how to cook the food you like to eat. My own family did not fry chicken. I don't remember ever eating chicken at home that wasn't put on the table in the form of a red and white bucket. With every single pregnancy I craved fried chicken. I would pull through the colonel's place and order a few pieces with a side of slaw and drench my buttery biscuit in the watery mess that was leftover in the little paper cup.

I'm 35 years old and now I know how to make biscuits and slaw better than the colonel. I learned what size chicken feeds my family and what spices taste really good and what just doesn't do much of anything in the way of flavor. My hope is that when my children grow up and start lives of their own, cooking will not be a mystery to them. I would rather them not know what to do at a drive-thru than not know what to do with a whole chicken.

I used to grow food because I wanted to be healthy, I wanted to know what was going on with my food from beginning to end.  While that aspect hasn't gone away, now I grow food more so because it taste good. I want to enjoy the things that I have to do every day in order to survive. I have to eat, it might as well be an enjoyable experience, right?