Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Expensive Chickens

At the beginning of last year, Dave and I watched a documentary titled, Food Inc.  Oh man.  What an eye opener.  I've never been a vegetarian and I will never be.  I like meat.  Rib eyes, lamb chops, bacon, yum, yum, yum.   After watching this show I truly understood the crazy of America's food system.  I asked Dave what did he take away from the show and he answered that we need to eat better so we can be healthier.  My answer was I want to stick it to the man.  Well, stickin' it to the man costs.  Costs a lot in some cases. 

So, then some time in early 2010 I am searching for pastured chickens.  Right, I know.  What the heck is pastured chicken?  I'll tell you what it's not.  Not that insanity of what we saw in Food Inc. with hundreds, if not thousands of chicken packed on top of each other shot up with antibiotics and who knows what walking around on top of each other.  Pastured chickens are, well, simply, happy chickens.  I did indeed find a farm right in our neck of the woods.  Yes, the chickens live a great life in a lovely field and then they are slaughtered.  For some, this is the part they just can't do.  For me, well, I said it before, I like meat.  Michael Pollan, the food journalist revolutionary said something the other week on Oprah about cows being raised in a "humane" condition.  He said how they live great lives and have only one bad day.  Yup, that's just how it is.

 (Ashleigh with chickens that lay the eggs we eat!)

The point of this is we have been known to buy chickens that are $6.99 a pound.  These chickens are usually 3 pounds and most likely will never be much more than that.  They are chickens the way chickens are supposed to be.  What this means is, yup, I have spent over $20 for one whole chicken.  Gasp!

Now wait a minute before you scoff at the idea and think, um, lady, ain't gonna happen in this grocery budget, let me tell you how I make that chicken last.  I can get 3 meals out of that chicken if I do it right.

Here's how it goes:

  • Dinner 1:  Roast the whole chicken and serve with our favorites like carrots in burned brown sugar and butter with potatoes roasted in lard that has been slowly rendered from the fat of pasture-raised heritage pigs.  Yup, you read that right, lard, baby.
  • Dinner 2: Usually we don't eat all the chicken meat and have some leftover for another meal, like, a salad.  Just the other week, we had a chicken breast and some leg meat that I used to make a Chinese Chicken Salad with a lot of vegetables like red pepper, carrots, cabbage, celery and oranges.  It was totally filling.
  • Dinner 3: Use the chicken carcass and any bits of chicken meat for a soup.  You've never had a chicken soup taste as good!  Typically, I add carrots, onions, celery, garlic, thyme and then later I might add rice or these really tasty noodles my mom has found at a store near her.  I'll usually serve the soup with some sort of sandwiches.
So there you go.  That $20+ chicken made 3 meals for my family of 2 adults and 2 children.  I think that's pretty budget friendly if you plan it out that way.

That's the way it used to be, too.  Food, or rather, meals were cooked so much differently "back in the day" and now we are so used to convenience, fast and easy.

I know it's cliche... food has been made cheap and that is a great advancement for feeding everyone but what is the cost?  Unfortunately, I think, the cost of inexpensive food is slowly killing us.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...