Monday, 24 August 2009

Continuing on with the Chicken Saga Lester was in charge of house, builders (if they turned up which they didn't but they might have) and sorting out the chicken. Which he did. Admirably. Out came its innards, off came other bits, into the pot with some veg and on with the cook.

For hours this donated chicken was cooked, apparently. During one of the hottest days here so far. The kitchen caravan must have been hot beyond belief, what with the sun baking down on it, and the gas ring sending forth its own heat.

Off in the Pyrenees were the rest of us. Great day. Ski-lifting (which I have already blogged about), fun and laughter. Back early evening. Chicken cooked. But too hot to eat. So we had baguettes and other stuff. Easier to handle than a pot of bones. Because that is how the chicken had fetched up. All in bits.

And this is how the French traditionally eat their chickens. In pots. With a minimal amount of veg (although Lester had put loads in our pot), cooked for ages on top of the wood burner, or gas ring. It is surprising how quickly one's appetite disappears when reviewing such a hotch potch of food. Well mine did anyway. Not to mention my daughter and grandsons, who were already seriously put off even taking a nibble of the chicken having seen it in its raw state earlier on in the day.

The next morning: Up early. Into kitchen caravan to sort pot out. Crikey, it had been switched off for at least twelve hours but the temperature in the caravan was still sufficiently high enough for the pot not to have cooled down hardly at all.

Nevertheless, with stirling fortitude I tackled the pot. I sieved out the entire contents. Oh dear. All the bits of bones and bits of flesh and bits of veg and bits of whatever all jumbled up in a heap.

But this bird had been gifted to us, so I stoically plodded on with sorting out the pile. And as I did so, my respect grew for the bird who was an old bird and done her egg-laying duty and was now being recycled. And I promised myself that I would partake of the bird later on. I owed it to her. And gently I separated out the white meat from everything else, rescued a goodly portion of the veg, and managed to make a new pot of chicken stew which looked actually quite edable.

By now Lester was up, and Karen appeared. The day had started. "Put the pot into the office will you?" I asked Lester, this being the coolest place on site. Already the sun was romping through the sky. Already it was hot.

So off to the swimming pool, a laze in the sun, more fun, more laughter.

Late afternoon: time to eat. Determined to partake of the chicken stew, I asked Lester to fetch it from the office. My daughter went with him. I heard her say "Should there be bubbles in the pot?" Looking through the glass lid she had espied movement.

And so the contents of the pot, and the remains of the chicken therein, were recyled. Only not through our digestive systems, but through the digestive systems of the various menagerie of animals and birds which have come to regard our compost heap as their local food supply. Apparently the contents of the pot were actually cooking even though the pot was not on a lit gas ring, but on my desk in the office. Such was the heat here on that day!

So another baguette and salad meal! Not to worry, though. The chicken wasn't wasted, because although we didn't get to eat it others did, and Lester got back in touch with certain skills which had lain dormant for years, gained from his time when his father had a farm in South Africa. And my self sufficiency learning was taken a step further.

So God bless the spirit of the chicken, and may it cluck happily wherever it now is, and God bless the lady who donated it to us in the spirit of neighbourlyness. And God bless my daughter who has now made her return to the UK and is shortly to move into a new house and a new relationship, and God bless my grandsons who are on the brink of manhood.

All in all, it has been a great few days! Plus the floors of the house, except one, have been cemented and the gates on the gatehouse have been started at long last. The sun is slightly less fierce, but it has been a good, long, sunny summer.

Sending you blessings from Labartere.......


DUTA said...

Poor chicken! There was a phase in my life when I gave up eating meat, but a cousin of mine, a biology teacher, warned me that I'll be lacking this and that so I got back to meat. I eat however, mainly turkey meat. I find it more tasty.
May God bless you and your family!

Vera said...

I am vegetarian by instinct and taste, Duta, and like you I gave up eating meat a few years ago. But I also went back to eating it because my body required it.
We want to be self sufficient here, which means growing and eating our own animals and poultry, which is a real learning curve for me! And blessings to you to!