A little chillier this morning. It’s starting to definitely feel like fall, but I’m amazed to see how many end-of-season summer vegetables are still available at the Farmer’s Market — summer squash, peppers, even tomatoes — along with more wintery stock like turnips and kale.
I got some broccoli and some lovely beets, and then couldn’t resist getting zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes, knowing they’re going to disappear soon. (I also splurged on a banana and chocolate chip scone from the folks at Living Arts Bakery, who keep a stand at the market. It was really, really, really, really good.)
Later in the afternoon I went by Wheatsville Co-op for a whole, organic chicken from Dewberry Farms . At $4.99 per pound, it’s not the cheapest chicken around (not when compared to standard grocery store chicken, I mean) but I have a special purpose for this one. I’m planning on picking the bones bare and broiling them for broth, which will let me eat this one chicken for the rest of the week. I was doing this with conventional chicken for a little while, until I remembered my friend Dan, whose parents raised factory chickens for one of the big producers, telling me there’s arsenic in the feed. Upon research, it turns out it’s not well understood how much arsenic ends up in the chicken meat most of us eat. I do know that arsenic accumulates in bone and hair tissue over time — famously, it was arsenic levels in Napleon’s bones that started the rumors that he might have been poisoned. I don’t know that all of this means anything, but on second thoughts, I’d rather not boil the bones of an animal fed on any level of arsenic at all, “non-toxic” not not. So, I stopped making broth.
That was a pity, though, because boiling the bones let’s you eat a single chicken for days. It’s unbelievable to me how much protein gets thrown away on the average set of chicken bones. Loads and loads of gristle and fat and marrow and sinew. A lot of us don’t like to eat these things because the textures are unfamiliar — we like that certain “crunch” of muscle tissue that means white-meat-chicken-good to our minds. The other stuff is weird and hard to chew. It all tastes great, though, and if you throw it in a crockpot (or a stew pot over very, very low heat) you can make a lovely soup out of it for days.
With my lovely new arsenic-free chicken, I am setting a challenge for myself: I am going to eat that chicken, in one form or another, every night this week. I call it One Chicken, One Week, Once Chance for Glory.