Friday, September 15, 2006


Soon after Jay and I moved in to the nice, green house 9 months ago, I started thinking about chickens. I got books in the library about how to raise chickens in your backyard. I'm hoping we really get one or even two. I'd like the eggs, the entertainment, and perhaps the friendship of a chicken. Gosh that sounds funny. But there's a story my mom recently told me about her parents.

Her father was an accountant. During the depression, he was asked to trade his accounting services for a chicken, which he did because he was a good man. He brought the chicken home and my grandmother put her in the cellar. They planned to cook the chicken the next weekend. Every evening my Papa came home, the chicken ran to greet him. When it came time, my grandmother killed the chicken, plucked it and cooked it. They were ready for their feast, which would have been a real treat during the depression. They sat at the table and stared at that chicken that had become attached to my Papa, and they cried. They couldn't eat it.

I have a sweet, 85-pg. book to recommend to anyone who has it in their library. It's called My Fine Feathered Friend, by William Grimes, a restaurant critic for the New York Times. It's a true tale of a black chicken who mysteriously found her way into the Grimes' backyard in Queens, and how it won their hearts. Here is an excerpt:

It was nice to know that the Chicken could eat anything , but I still didn't feel right about the cat food. I started looking for advice on the ideal diet, but in New York, it turned out, chicken knowledge is hard to come by. The bird specialist at Petco said, "We have birdseed for specific kinds of bird, but because the chicken is not a specific bird, we don't have any specific food". That stopped me cold. It's specifically a chicken, I wanted to say.

Should Jay and I end up getting a chicken this Fall, I will post a bit of the adventure.

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